You may recognise the scenario. A team that seems lethargic, low-energy, lacking communication, and delivering poor quality work can suddenly ignite into a high-energy team of awesomeness… all they need is for the boss to be on holiday, or at a conference, or in an off-site meetings – just generally not around.
This is the Absent Boss Effect.
Of course, this is possibly the wrong name for the phenomena as the “good days” are a demonstration of how the team would perform naturally… so the effect is actually the “oppresive presence effect” – but it is hard to realise this when the boss is around most of the time and the “good days” seem to be the exception.
If you think you have a dysfunctional team in your organisation – pay them a visit when the boss is absent and see if you can tell the difference.