Team Working: 5 Common Reasons Why Teams Struggle

When teams are in flow and upbeat they are able to deliver results with ease.  I know during my career in large organisations that there were times when it felt easy.  At the same time I know that these instances are few and far between.  So why is this?


Reason 1: Personal egos get in the way


I am sure the majority of people have come across this one.  It is those times when people on the team are more interested in how they look or are viewed by others than the team objective.  It becomes a competition that has little benefit to the team.  Surprising as it might seem, the more senior the people on the team are, the more likely that this type of power struggle arises.


Reason 2: Turf protection


We all know our own area of the business or organisation really well.  When we go into a team our experiences to date or the norms of our function significantly influence the way we look at things.  As a result people tend to be resistant to anything that might result in more work or change in their area.  When this turf protection mindset is replicated across a team stalemate can easily arise.


Reason 3: Negative attitudes


Teams are often established in order to respond to a particular difficulty or challenge that the organisation is facing.  Sometimes the members are so focussed on the obstacles and the difficulties of the challenges just about everyone starts to become negative.  When this happens it is difficult to make any significant progress.


Reason 4: No one wants to take a decision


The leader should take the decisions- right?  As this often happens most of the time, people when asked to work together find it to take decisions collectively.  This can easily result in a situation where there is a lot of talking, little decision and as a result little action.


Reason 5: The wrong people are on the team


Another challenge is when people are put on a team not because they are the best person to be part of it but because they have some spare capacity.  A variation on this is where senior people are asked to be on a team but don’t participate and always send a deputy.  While there is nothing wrong with someone deputising, the deputy might be reluctant to make major decisions which can hold up progress.


Bottom Line –  Getting teams to work together and deliver results is a real challenge.  What steps do you need to take to improve team working in your organisation?

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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