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6 simple steps to crush teamwork – once and for all

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Top tips on what to do, and what not.

We are part of teams at nearly every point in our life; at work, at home, in social organisations, in sports clubs, in church communities – the list is endless. These team members interact with each other, are aware of one another, have a common objective and goal, and perceive themselves to be a group.

“Nothing truly valuable can be achieved except by the unselfish cooperation of many individuals.” ~ Albert Einstein


Being part of a group can be nurturing, supportive, and positive for the individual members. However, if the dynamic within the group is negative, team members can be left feeling depleted, discouraged and judged. Most groups look for a leader in an effort to maintain connection within. Positive dynamic within a group is easy to spot; the members trust each another, work towards a united decision, and hold each other accountable for making things happen.


7 reasons why positive dynamic and fruitful teamwork are essential for any business or department:

  1. A group can influence the thinking of its members, and positive interactions will positively influence the individuals
  2. Groups with good leaders perform better than groups with weak leaders
  3. Higher job satisfaction to its members and thus higher retention rates
  4. The cooperation of a connected group will result in maximisation of productivity
  5. Negative thinkers will be converted to positive thinkers
  6. The effect of synergy of positive thinkers is more than double every time (Note: 1 + 1 = >3)
  7. Emotional attachment within the group members reduces staff turnover


How teams operate and how they view themselves and their organisation are too important to leave to chance. Success or failure of groups or teams depends on a number of factors like: member resources (knowledge, abilities, skills, personality characteristics), group structures (group size, roles, norms, bonding) and group processes (communication, decision making, conflict management, leadership).


As promised, here are the 6 simple steps to crush constructive teamwork – once and for all (PS and hopefully obvious: this is also what NOT to do):

1  Lack of a strong leader.

When the leader is weak, a more dominant member of the group can often take charge. This can lead to misdirection, power struggle, disputes, or a focus on the wrong priorities.


2  Excessive admiration.

If people want to be seen to agree with a leader and therefore hold back from expressing their own opinions, the team is suffering from disproportionate deference to authority.


3  Taking a free ride.

Some team members may work hard on their own but limit their contributions in group situations. This is called free riding or social loafing, and creates resentment within the team.

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4  Subdue to Groupthink.

When people place a desire for consensus above their desire to reach the right decision or stand up for their opinion, it prevents the group from fully exploring alternative solutions. The desire for group cohesion effectively drives out good decision-making and problem solving.


5  Adopting blocking roles.

Team members can disrupt the flow of information in the group by adapting blocking roles such as the aggressor (often disagreeing with others or being inappropriately outspoken), the negator (often critical of others’ ideas), the withdrawer (not participating in discussions), the recognition seeker (being boastful or dominating sessions), or the joker (introducing humor at inappropriate times).


6  Fear of feedback. 

This happens when people feel that they are being judged too harshly by other group members and hold back their opinions as a result, in turn contributing to a negative group dynamic.


All teams are groups, but not all groups are teams. Identifying team dynamics and understanding positive and negative outcomes is a stepping stone to knowing how to predict and build team performance. Now, of course we are in the business of Learning and Development, and our purpose is to promote greater confidence and heightened leadership skills in individuals and teams to enable them to make smarter choices and achieve better outcomes.


So, naturally we want to share with you the 6 elements that foster fruitful teamwork (PS and hopefully obvious: this is also what to DO):

  1. Know the team
  2. Focus on communication
  3. Define goals and responsibilities
  4. Solve problems fast
  5. Strengthen the team


Time for Action

  • Are there any dysfunctional roles being played within your teams or workforce?
  • Have you noticed any Groupthink symptoms? How can you nurture and develop these particular group members?
  • Are there other teamwork crushers playing a negative role in the success of your business?


“Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” ~ Henry Ford


There are many factors that can influence teamwork and group dynamics negatively, and it is crucial that the leader identifies and acts upon them quickly. A team with a positive dynamic is nearly twice as creative as an average group; but the dynamics of many people interacting may present difficulties at times. However, witnessing the development and strengthening of the bond within that group is well worth the effort. Ask any successful leader.

“Dare to make a difference!”

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