Melbourne: No doubt, a good leader can turn average workers into top performers. But, just one lazy person at workplace can drag down an entire high performing team, says a new study by the Australian School of Business.

Researchers have based their findings on an analysis of 158 students, who were divided into 33 teams. They examined how the dedication and hard work of individual team members affected the work of the entire group, concentrating on how just one member can influence the group.

Benjamin Walker, who led the study, said, "All the research indicates that a single lazy person drags the team down, reducing its performance and hence the satisfaction of the other members of the group. It can be someone who isn't proactive, someone who only does the minimum amount of work or someone who is just plain disinterested in the job at hand.

"Even being excessively keen but producing little is generally a negative trait within a group. It was previously thought that the average level of a personality trait such as conscientiousness in a team defined its success. However conscientiousness has two sides to it: One is discipline and a need for achievement and other being painstaking and careful."

The study also found that the person who contributes the least has a huge impact.

"Even if the rest of the team is generally pulling their weight they won't be able to compensate for that member and they won't be happy about it. It really does show that one bad apple in the barrel can spoil it for everyone else," Walker said.