Teamwork Complex: Independence
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The "Independence Complex"

The Independence Complex occurs when the team underuses the Coach team role.

Healthy use

When used appropriately, the Coach team role is used to create harmony. Coaches focus on building rapport with people, creating a positive team atmosphere, looking after people's welfare, motivating people and/or providing a service to the satisfaction of others. Coaches value people's contributions, seek to develop the role that others play, and invest a lot of effort in building positive relationships. They try to overcome differences of opinion and find ways in which the team can agree.

Insufficient use

If the Coach team role is used insufficiently, however, and it becomes a 'No-Go-Area' for the team, then they avoid building relationships and developing rapport, focusing on their own agendas an only communicating on an impersonal, task basis - interactions are more like negotiations than cooperation. The result can be a very 'political' team where they find it hard to reach consensus, because they are all trying to make their case and win. They also fail to provide inadequate support to each other, in extreme cases deliberately letting other team members fail or sabotaging their efforts. They may discourage and demotivate people in or associated with the team because they are working independently at the team's expense.

The complex is given the name "Independence" because the team members often don't see themselves as part of a team, they are working independently and therefore have no task-based need to build relationships with others.


Complexes can be very difficult to deal with. See our general page on Complexes for more information.

A good facilitator or consultant can help the team address the Independence Complex in various ways, such as:

Psychology Footnote

The Independence Complex results from the team's rigidity in their avoidance of extraverted Feeling.

See all sixteen team complexes.

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