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The Top Things That Sabotage Teamwork and Bring Your Team Down

Working together on a team can be challenging – no matter what you are trying to accomplish. Whether you are working together for team charity events, completing a big project together or working toward some other goal, it is important for the team to function smoothly as a unit. However, sometimes there are certain group dynamics that can sabotage a team and really bring you down.

Here are some of the common problems that bring down teams – and how you can avoid them.

The Team Becomes Fragmented

When a team is not cohesive and a difficult situation arises, groups can be formed within the team and will “take sides” on various issues. This can cause conflict and polarization, which can weaken the strength of the team from the inside out. The best way to deal with this is to try to find a compromise that meets the needs of everyone on the team.

If it is not possible to do this, you might consider splitting the team up into smaller groups so that each group can carry on with their unique way of doing things. Sometimes teams are just simply too big and unwieldly and they would be able to accomplish more if they were smaller. Perhaps two smaller teams would be able to be more closely aligned and accomplish more than a larger team would.

The Team is Unmotivated

Sometimes when a team gets together there is no energy or motivation, they are just going through the motions and not demonstrating initiative. In order to be inspired to do something, often people need to see that there will be a reward or a goal for achieving their actions. It doesn’t have to be something that the team receives, sometimes just making an accomplishment and seeing the fruits of their efforts can be motivating.

For example, if your team is raising money for a charity you can take a look at some of the projects that the charity is working on and see how the money raised would have a positive effect on the lives of others. This might be powerful inspiration for the team to step up and become more motivated.

The Team is Dominated by One Person

Sometimes it can be difficult for people to work in a team if one person is always acting in a domineering way, monopolizing meetings and forcing his or her viewpoint on the group. You can deal with this issue by complimenting the person on their good work, but asking them privately to put some of their extra ideas in writing to you rather than taking up group time. You don’t want to squelch their creativity, you just want to find an additional outlet so that it doesn’t take time away from others. In group discussions, create a format in which each person gets a turn answering questions or sharing their ideas.

The Team Has a Member Who Doesn’t Speak Up

Sometimes you might have the opposite problem – a team member who doesn’t participate in the group discussions and just sits there quietly. This person might be shy or lack confidence, they might be intimidated by other members, they might not be able to think about anything to contribute or there may be many other reasons for their lack of participation. It’s hard to know where they are coming from and what the issue is, because they might not speak up about it.

To deal with this, give them praise when they do speak up and take the time to listen to their ideas. Have a private meeting with the person to talk to them about why they are not speaking up. Depending on the reason that they give, you will be able to work from there and determine if the issue can be solved or if they should be removed from the team.

These are just a few of the issues that you might face when you are working together with a team – but with the right approach you will be able to overcome them. A great team works well together and is able to accomplish more because they make the most of their strengths – whether you are working on charity challenges abroad or any other type of challenge.


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