Steve Jobs, co-founder and former CEO of Apple Inc., said, “Great things in business are never done by one person; they are done by a team of people.” And isn’t that true? For an organization to achieve great heights of success, the people and teams in it need to work collectively on its goal.

No matter how an individual performs greatly, it won’t be enough. That’s why a lot of organizations have units, departments, divisions—and even smaller units and teams in those. But, just because a team has been formed, doesn’t mean that it will automatically give solutions to the problems it has been assigned to. At the same time, just because your top individual performers are in a team, it doesn’t mean that they will automatically perform the same as they do when they’re independent.

The answer: teamwork. A team is as strong as its collective mindset. When individualism is encouraged, ego takes over and that’s where it fails. Here are some reasons why teams fail that, as a leader, you must avoid.


5 Reasons Why Teams Fail

Rewarding Individual Behaviors

The purpose of a team is to work together towards a common goal. If a leader starts disregarding that the outcomes produced are because of the team’s collective performance and not an individual’s, members will start to lose their motivation in working together. There’s no point working in a team when only one person gets rewarded, right?

Provide feedback to the team’s performance as a group, at the same time, you can also give feedback to members individually. Just keep in mind that a team is made up of a diverse group of people, so your feedback should not be a “one size fits all” style.


Members are not team players

Human beings are fiercely independent creatures and will always have opinions and independent methods when doing something. But this doesn’t mean that you can just put anyone in a team since they’re all “independent” anyway. Different jobs require different behaviors. Some jobs highly encourage independence. But, if your organization needs teams, you should definitely look for individuals that are team players.

There are interview questions that can help you determine if a talent is a team player or not. There are also assessments and tools that allow you to further examine a person, their personality, and behaviors, as well as help you build better workplace teams.


Undistributed Power or Authority

Imagine one of the teams in your organization or you with your team members collaborating effectively on a project. However, a leader comes in and changes everything at the last minute.

Demotivating, isn’t it?

The team is given the illusion that they have the authority or the power to make decisions, but in the end, they don’t. This case can also happen among team members. One person dominates—rejecting the others’ inputs, pushing for his ideas to be always right, and the others are forced to follow.

If the authority isn’t properly distributed, the same situation will always happen. As a leader, let the team know what they can and what they can’t do and be open to their ideas. You don’t have to completely let them organize themselves, but some guides will surely help.


Vague Team Purpose(s)

It’s true that all the teams’ work is to achieve the overall corporate goal. But, not all teams approach the corporate goal directly. Some teams deliver outputs to help other teams. And some teams deliver work that directly contributes to the organizational target.

For example, your organization has set a target of PhP 100M sales for the year 2018. This brunt of the work will evidently fall upon your profit-making team or the sales team. Then what do the other teams do? They also need to work for the overall target but what can they do to contribute?

You have to assign each team their purpose. In this case, the marketing team’s purpose is to help the sales team market your organization’s products and services through digital media, traditional media, events, etc. The accounting team’s purpose can be to keep correct records of financial statements.

Without purpose or with a vague purpose, teams will not be able to effectively deliver what you want from them. Having team-specific purposes also drive more engagement.


Not managing conflicts

Silence doesn’t always mean that everything is going smoothly. When people with different points of view, opinions, and personalities, conflict is inevitable. Having conflict doesn’t necessarily mean that things are going downhill. In fact, it can be productive!

One of the common conflict management mistakes is inaction. Ignoring a conflict won’t make it go away. An unresolved problem grows into resentment and can affect future projects even after it becomes irrelevant. Inaction will lead to tense relationships between your employees.

The good news is there a lot of ways to handle conflict. The very first thing you need to do is to identify its source. And from there, you can determine methods to resolve the problem with the cooperation of your team members, of course.


Teams are a great way to utilize your organization’s talents. They have a lot of benefits when they succeed. Here’s to more successful teams in the future!