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Examples of Poor Teamwork

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Teams that fail to work as a collaborative functioning unit rarely accomplish goals and objectives. Various behaviors and attitudes can throw off the effectiveness of a group, lowering morale and even impacting overall job satisfaction. Undefined roles, in which no one is sure of his responsibilities, or a lack of structure for projects and tasks, can both contribute to ineffective teamwork.

Bad Attitude

A team of individuals who have bad attitudes toward colleagues, the company or work products is ineffective. For example, if team members are unwilling to brainstorm and compromise, share ideas and support one another on project tasks, projects are fragmented and often poorly approached. Effective group members can become resentful and angry at lack of productivity, or for being forced to shoulder the bulk of the workload responsibility.

Unwillingness to Cooperate

When team members exhibit selfish behaviors and are unwilling to concede points or compromise to reach consensus, progress is impeded. There may be a breakdown in the chain of command or there might be no identified leaders or set team roles at all. Staffers who try to single-handedly control the group or who go in the other direction and shirk responsibility, both have a negative impact on teamwork.

Poor Communication

Productive team members communicate effectively with one another, through both written and verbal means. Teams with poor communication skills are often operating from different informational points and are never entirely certain what other teammates are working on or what progress is being made. This can result in misunderstanding, time wasted going in the wrong direction and frustration when work must be repeated.


Teams composed of employees who have drastically different personalities and business philosophies can lead to infighting. This is disruptive to group harmony and to overall productivity. There might be a naysayer who criticizes or puts down every idea, a disruptor who constantly throws meetings off-track to draw attention to himself, or a braggart who uses meetings to talk about past accomplishments and to control the direction of group activity. All these behaviors have the potential to negatively impact the effectiveness of the team.


When team members are constantly at odds with one another, ongoing conflict can impede progress. Teammates who can’t collectively decide on approach, or who argue about division of labor, are often unable to get anything done. Personality clashes, when left unaddressed, also have the potential to lower morale and make all members of the team miserable.


Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.

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