Most leaders would be thrilled to say that their team members feel safe and comfortable enough to have tough conversations and take risks together. That sort of psychological safety can have a dark side, says Alex Fradera on Quartz.

The positive characteristics of loyalty and influence can become negative when one bad apple on the team leads others astray. In some cases, misplaced loyalty can cause team members to cover for each other, even when they know they’re breaking the rules. (Hello, Enron and Wells Fargo.)

How do leaders encourage psychological safety and avoid the downside? Keep in touch with the real culture of the team, hire carefully, watch incentives that may encourage negative behavior and keep communication channels open. Above all, don’t hang back or let indecision take over. As Sir George Adrian Cadbury said, “Shelving hard decisions is the least ethical course.”

Have some experience with a team breaking bad? Comment below or message us.


Photo by Perry Grone on Unsplash