The Pitfalls of Creating Dependence in Your Team

There is a difference between helping and creating dependence…In your team.

Helping implies getting someone to a different level so they can support themselves on their own two feet.

Creating dependence implies not letting others in your team soar on their own.


Some teams are run by leaders that only know how to create dependence in their teams. What appears to be helping, in the long run is merely control. Having control of a team squelches their best efforts to succeed. It is a recipe to failure, but the secondary gain is with the person creating all the dependency in the team. Creating dependency in others is like telling your team not to perform. Creating dependence in the team, takes the following traits:

1. The team can’t move because the leader requires them not to think. Instead they are given the directives what to do.
2. The leader has reached the limit of their skill. Their insecurity is such a problem that controlling and creating dependence is the only way they can keep from losing control.
3. The leader is so disengaged and their unit is drifting.
4. Creating dependence in their team members feels good to the one in charge, and gives them a false sense of self.
5. Creating dependence hides the leader’s ineptness.

Creating dependence in others we work with looks like helping, but it is only a projection of the leader’s weakness, and lack of capacity. It is a unit killer.

The effects on the team are enormous. Skepticism, under-functioning, and second-guessing becomes common place. If they don’t collude with the co-dependence, then it is seen as non-compliance. The biggest issue is the loss in capacity, initiative and creativity. What could be a healthy and developing business unit, ends up being a mediocre unit.

Creating dependence in others is not helping, and it’s purpose is usually to meet the needs of the person creating the dependence in others.

  • Indicators that there is a culture of dependence in your organization:
  • 1. People are leaving
    2. Attitude or productivity problems
    3. Staff is not following policy
    4. Dishonesty
    5. Entitlement mentality in staff
    6. Gross disconnection with the values and cross company goals
    7. Frustration, lack of vision

    Helping rather than creating dependence implies that the manager is guiding rather than controlling their team. It also implies that everyone is responsible for the results and is accountable at the same time. It is about getting there, and not about one person trying to meet their needs at the expense of others or the organization.

    In what ways do you see dependency creeping into the culture of your organization?

    Do you help and get out of the way, or create a dependency where others see you as the center –


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