What Are Some Obstacles to Effective Teamwork?

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Teamwork allows goals to be reached in the most effective and timely method.
Teamwork allows goals to be reached in the most effective and timely method. (Image: teamwork image by Yvonne Bogdanski from Fotolia.com)

Across all industries of business, working as part of a team with your colleagues is often vital to getting a job done efficiently and well. Teamwork can increase productivity and motivation as well as colleagues’ enjoyment of a job. By cooperating and taking into account others’ opinions, a group can more effectively achieve its goals, and in turn contribute to the company’s overall goals and objectives.

Unclear Goals

It is fine to say that a team can work well together, but if its members are unsure what their goals or objectives are in the first place, the teamwork is essentially a nonstarter. Objectives for the group should be set out clearly and concisely. Ideally, the success of these goals should be easily measurable and set within a particular time period.

Demotivation

A team can lose motivation for many reasons. If members have been performing poorly in the recent time period, it’s common for a team to take a "can’t-do" attitude and lose determination and belief in the team. Likewise, if a task is particularly challenging, frustration may kick in causing your team to lose motivation. If this is the case, a motivating pep talk and a little reminder of the team's strengths may do the trick to get your team confident in its abilities again.

Unclear Roles

Assigning roles within a group can be a key in successful teamwork. A team should understand and take into consideration its individual strengths and weaknesses and assign tasks accordingly. If team roles are unclear, this may result in confusion and lack of cohesion within the group, as more than one person works on the same task, wasting time and possibly leading to disagreements.

Arrogance

There is always one person who struggles more than others with the concept of teamwork. While a strong leader can often be an asset to a team, somebody who considers his knowledge and skills superior to others can just as easily be a hindrance. This person won’t be able to resist the urge to take over proceedings and take charge of the group. This can cause friction and frustration within the group, particularly if others do not agree with the self-appointed leader’s opinions.

Poor Communication

It is essential that when working as part of a team, colleagues communicate with each other regularly. It could be the case that a team is working on a long-term project. Weekly meetings are arranged providing colleagues to review each others' progress and set new targets for the week ahead. It could be that your team cannot meet weekly, and perhaps the team members prefer to communicate by email instead. Whatever way your team's communication channels, ensure that the communication is regular and informative.

Discrimination

Discrimination can happen for any number of reasons within the workplace. Factors contributing to discrimination can range from gender or race to class, education or experience at the role. The most important thing when working as part of a team is to always consider your teammates as your equals, and value their opinions and needs as you would your own.

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