What are 5 barriers to effective teamwork? (+5 interesting solutions)

In this article, we will be discussing the 5 main barriers for effective teamwork. We shall also be looking at the different solutions for these barriers and also how to come up with a strategy for team communication. In addition, we will also be describing the various signs of effective team communication that can lead to good teamwork and collaboration.

What are 5 barriers to effective teamwork?

The 5 barriers to effective teamwork are:

  • Unclear goals for the team
  • No trust among team members
  • Low levels of self-awareness
  • Popularity of remote working
  • Problems with diversity

Teamwork is essential for the proper functioning of an organization. However, there can be challenges in the process of teamwork. This requires a lot of time and effort and also advocacy from the leaders and managers in the organization. The 5 common barriers of effective teamwork are discussed in this section.

Unclear goals for the team

 When the team members do not have a clear goal in front of them, they simply will not take part in teamwork. This can be when the goal itself is not set properly or when the team leader does not take the time to explain it properly. Teams require a proper shared goal as well as proper individual goals in order to work together effectively.

No trust among team members

Trust is an essential part of teamwork and collaboration. Without trust, the team members will not depend on each other for support and sharing of resources. Mistrust in the team can also lead to conflicts and misunderstandings in the team. Team leaders can build trust in the team by first displaying great trustworthiness and trusting other team members in their tasks.

Low levels of self-awareness

Self-awareness is highly important for the purpose of teamwork and collaboration. It is also required for individual growth and development. It also is a highly sought after quality in leaders. Through self-awareness, team members will know their strengths as well as their skill gaps. When team members show good self-awareness, teamwork is practiced effectively.

Popularity of remote working

Remote working has become highly popular these days. Organizations are also encouraging more remote working as it helps them cut costs and also brings other benefits. While companies are improving remote working through online collaboration tools, it still can lead to a break in the teamwork. Remote working can reduce the physical proximity, leading to lesser teamwork.

Problems with diversity

Though diversity is a great asset to any organization or team, it can still be considered a problem if not understood and celebrated well. When diversity is not respected in the team, it can make employees more closed and thus can cut down on creativity and innovation. It can also create rifts between employees, causing a break in the teamwork and collaboration.

In addition to these barriers, there can also be others that prevent teamwork. Some of these barriers are:

Gender differences in the team

This may sound like something out of the past, but gender differences still occur in teams today. Research has shown that men and women communicate using different styles and patterns. If team members are not aware of this, it can lead to assumptions causing conflicts in the team. These differences can also occur due to stereotyping and deep-rooted misogyny.

Millennial vs Boomer

Teamwork can also be disrupted when there are generational differences in the group. Since not all team members are on the same page about tools and technologies used, miscommunications can happen often. Since different generations practice a diverse set of values, this can also lead to a rift in the teamwork between employees.

Physical environment

Sometimes the physical environment or the workspace can also lead to disruptions in teamwork. Team members will not be able to work closely together when there are too many distractions and noise around them. This can also happen when workspaces are not designed to encourage collaboration and interaction between employees.

Solutions for barriers to teamwork

Though there may be many barriers for teamwork, there are plenty of solutions and strategies organizations can use to increase collaboration between employees. Some of the solutions and strategies that can remove barriers to teamwork are:

Promote psychological safety in the team

When team members do not experience psychological safety in the workplace, they will refrain from working closely with each other and also not open up with ideas and suggestions. Psychological safety provides employees with the motivation to take more risks and challenges in the workplace. Team leaders need to create a supportive environment to encourage teamwork.

Create workspaces to promote teamwork

The physical workspace needs to be designed in a manner to encourage communication and interaction between team members. Leaders in the organization need to also provide the right facilities and refreshments to make the workplace comfortable for the employees. Not just physical workspaces, but also virtual ones should encourage more teamwork in the organization.

Improve self-awareness

Team-members need to be encouraged to improve their levels of self-awareness. This can be encouraged by the team leaders first demonstrating it. Self-awareness can be improved by various methods like asking feedback, meditation, mindfulness and therapy.

Set clear goals

The team goals should be clearly set in order for the team to work closely together. Leaders need to carefully set smart goals which are highly specific in nature and can be measured easily. It also requires the goals to be realistic in nature. Setting smart goals for the team can eventually lead to smarter teamwork.

Educate your team members

Team members require the right education and training in order to work better together. This is especially for the issue of respecting diversity and using it as a resource. For this, team members need to be educated in the right manner so that they are exposed and well-aware of sensitive topics and how to work around them.

Strategy for team communication

Team communication is highly essential for teamwork. It ensures the work process follows the right guidelines and is completely goal-oriented. In order to come up with a strategy for team communication, leaders and managers need to ask the right kinds of questions. Examples of these questions are:

  • What are we going to communicate?
  • When are we going to communicate with each other?
  • How are we going to communicate with each other?
  • Where will we be communicating?
  • How much will we be communicating with each other?
  • What tool can we use to facilitate this communication?
  • What roles will each team member play in the communication process?

By answering these questions, teams can come up with a strategy for the communication process and follow it as an outline in the work process.

Signs of effective team communication

Effective team communication in the organization can be observed through the signs explained below:

Team members communicate regularly and frequently

Effective team communication requires the team members to interact regularly with each other. This also should be balanced well in order to avoid collaboration overloads. The communication can take place through all forms like verbal, non-verbal and even written mediums. This allows the employees to be on the same page at all times.

The communication is aligned with the goals

Communication in the workplace should be tightly aligned with the goals of the group. Otherwise it can lead to gossip and meaningless chatter which can cause conflicts and disruptions in the workplace. Team members should remember the goal as well as the outline of the plan properly while communicating to make the conversation constructive and productive.

Open and honest communication is practiced

When open and honest communication is practiced in the organization, it leads to high levels of transparency. When there is transparency, there is more trust in the workplace. This ultimately leads to better risk taking behaviors and also creative and innovative solutions for problems. Open communication can additionally lead to better feedback and criticism.


In this article, we have discussed the 5 main barriers for effective teamwork. We have also looked at the different solutions for these barriers and how to come up with a strategy for team communication. In addition, we have described the various signs of effective team communication that can lead to great teamwork in the organization.

Frequently asked questions: (What are the 5 barriers to effective teamwork?)

What are the five elements of effective teamwork?

For effective teamwork to happen in an organization, five important elements or factors are required. These elements are discussed as follows:

Great communication

For effective teamwork, communication is greatly required. The communication needs to follow the correct strategy and also be open and honest. When effective communication is practiced, it allows team members to trust each other and also open up about their problems in the work process. This creates more inter-dependency, furthering the teamwork.

Positive and supportive environment

Leaders in the organization need to put in effort to create a positive environment for the employees to work in. Support can be between team members as well as support from the management. When employees feel supported, they take on additional responsibilities and also collaborate closely with each other to achieve the shared goal.

Right assigning of tasks

For great teamwork, the different team members need to be assigned with the right roles and tasks. This allows more accountability and responsibility while completing the tasks. This happens when employees show more ownership of the roles. This ownership can only happen when the tasks and roles are delegated in the right manner.

Proper resources and tools

Teamwork requires many resources and tools. They can be physical resources such as the right workplaces, facilities to meet and work together and also collaboration or communication tools. It can also be certain skills like communication that may require learning and training. By providing the right resources, leaders can encourage teamwork.

Sharing of ideas and suggestions

Team members should also be encouraged to share their ideas and suggestions in the group. When team members know that their opinions are valued, they participate and engage more with the team.

What are the 4 team roles?

The 4 different types of roles in the team are the leader, the facilitator, the coach and the team member. These roles are assigned keeping in mind the knowledge and skill sets of the individual. The personality types and working styles of each individual are also considered before assigning the role.

 In order to perform the role effectively, leaders need to make them explicit and help the individuals understand them clearly. They also need to understand the team goals that they are working to achieve.

What is an allowable weakness?

An allowable weakness is one that permits a bigger strength to operate alongside it. As the strength is more valuable, the team allows the particular weakness.

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