Our work environments have a myriad of subcultures which exist just underneath the facade of “the company” as a whole. These groups can either undermine or elevate the performance of those who exist within them. The job of the leader is to identify and understand these groups. While the leader may have an opinion, positive or negative, with regard to how these sub groups operate or impact productivity, one thing is certain, to not acknowledge them is suicide.  Whether they are allies or enemies their existence impacts the ability of the team to move forward effectively and efficiently.  Understanding is leverage which will allow leadership to protect the group or propel the group.  Either way, effective leaders know what and who they are working with.