The ideal vision is a smoothly efficient team of dedicated workers. Unfortunately, in your small business, this is not always reality. The company owner must be prepared for pitfalls that can cause teams to fail. Identifying the potential problems with management, motivation and communication that plague workplace collaboration can help you and your team successfully handle these issues.

Weak Leader

The absence of strong leadership to direct and support a team can quickly lead to failure. According to Forbes magazine, a leader is responsible for recruiting and retaining the right employees and mentoring them for team success. Hire someone who can clearly communicate a well-thought-out strategy to his team of employees to make collaboration work. For example, when your company project is to create a new marketing plan and the manager neglects to delegate such roles as research, design and production, it is doomed to fail. Team members will be confused and unlikely to succeed with the imitative without clear directives.

Stale Ideas

Stale ideas lead to bored teams that do not produce the results your small business needs. When people consistently are called upon do the same things in the same manner, it can lead to poor quality and low motivation. Teams unwilling to take risks on new concepts and new methods are bound for failure. For example, if one team member suggests a novel idea that requires employees to move out of their comfort zone and this concept is unaccepted, the team has lost an opportunity to grow and generate profit for the company.


Incongruity, the existence of conflicting ideas or personalities, spells trouble. Teams fail if the team leader does not facilitate the interactions of a team. Treat the differences in your team members as an asset and convince your staff to value these as well. Consulting firm Business Improvement Architects recommends frequent communications as a group, human relations training and promotion of an attitude of mutual respect to help with conflicts. Encourage workers to air opinions and work through issues. Teach them to work with conflicting ideas by compromising and incorporating the best features of a concept to create a better one.


The lack of firm deadlines and unclear directives negatively impacts work teams. When a team attempts to function under vague circumstances, the work produced is often of low quality and the company loses money. Clear delegation and instructions are imperative for moving work forward. Meet with the employee team to establish clear instructions, a workable time frame and strategic delegation of tasks to keep the team from failing.

Wasted Time

Participation in irrelevant conversations, rehashing old events without learning from them and arriving late or leaving early waste time. A team that allows individuals to engage in activities that distract from the mission of the business impairs production and limits profits. Do not let these distractions interfere with team objectives. Make it clear to employees that excessive time spent on non-work activities will not be tolerated. Get the workforce to focus on team accomplishments by presenting exciting ideas, involving employees in decision-making regarding ideas and methods and raise worker awareness of how the team can function to create profits in the company which will be shared by all.