Teamwork Productivity: 21 Reasons People Can’t Automatically Get Along

Teamwork Productivity: Why Can’t Everyone Automatically Get Along?

Leaders call me when they want teamwork productivity to improve. Their frustration pours out in the question:

Why can’t people just get along and stop the petty squabbles?”

Teamwork Productivity: Image is two chess pieces facing off.

Teamwork Productivity: 21 Reasons People Can’t Automatically Get Along Image by Juan Ignacio Sanchez Lara

Image by Juan Ignacio Sánchez Lara via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Teamwork Productivity: 21 Reasons Why Employees Can’t Just Get Along

There are many reasons why employees can’t automatically get along.

  1. They have different personality types and don’t know how to adapt or don’t want to.
  2. They feel overrun by mavericks on the team who don’t collaborate.
  3. Their low emotional intelligence keeps squabbles alive.
  4. Respect is low
  5. Trust is low.
  6. They have different personal career goals.
  7. They come from different cultures and with different mores.
  8. They are competing for a limited number of promotional opportunities.
  9. They have different habits which drive each other crazy.
  10. They have different definitions of team and teamwork.
  11. Teams goals and acceptable team behaviors aren’t clear.
  12. They have old baggage that affects today’s behavior.
  13. They slow or stop interacting to avoid conflict.
  14. There is bullying going on that you haven’t addressed or don’t even know about.
  15. They don’t know how to disagree in a productive way. Instead, they express thoughts and emotions in an aggressive way.
  16. Some who seem to work harder resent those who seem to work less.
  17. There are some team members who give orders to others instead of asking. “Get me those numbers right away!” This lowers teamwork productivity.
  18. You have a blame culture and people are pulling back to avoid failure.
  19. Change agents who are innovating are disrespecting past and current efforts. People take offense and interaction suffers. (FYI: You don’t have to demean the past to create the future.)
  20. Leaders aren’t forthright about upcoming changes and the rumor mill reduces teamwork and productivity.
  21. Leaders don’t express appreciation and recognition for employees’ work and talents so they don’t express it to each other. Low inspiration = low engagement and teamwork productivity.

When employees ask you, the leader, to help with these struggles, telling them to work it out themselves or stop complaining makes matters worse. If they could, they would.

Delegating it to someone else to handle won’t settle matters either.

What Does Work?

  • Ask, listen, and explore options. Involve the teams in making things better.
  • Redefine teamwork. Most leaders and teams are still defining it as a group of people working toward common goals and results. And you see where that’s gotten you. A team actually is: people growing, changing, and adapting to reach a shared success. If you don’t include growing, changing, adapting in your definition of a team, people work on common goals purely from their own style and view. You then end up on the list of 21 troubles.
  • As a leader, increase your emotional self-awareness and emotional intelligence. Leadership is about inspiring and influencing others. This creates a better work environment and minimizes the 21 troubles.
  • Tap outside help. Independent team builders bring specialized expertise, fresh perspectives, objectivity, and the ability to say things that insiders can’t risk saying.

Most importantly, don’t let these troubles fester. Although you can’t prevent all of them, you can address interaction troubles as they surface. Left alone, these struggles become long held grudges with insurmountable barriers.

In your experience, what else stops people from working well together?

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
Teamwork Productivity: 5 Essentials to Build 21st Century Teams
Modern Leadership & Teamwork: Be Selfless Not Faceless
18 Things Respected Well-Liked Leaders Consistently Do
One Giant Communication Blunder & One Easy Fix

©2015 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.




Engage in people skills learning!

Let’s turn interaction obstacles into business success in leadership, teamwork, and customer service experience.

I invite your questions, welcome your wisdom, and look forward to working with you.
~Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

2 Responses to “Teamwork Productivity: 21 Reasons People Can’t Automatically Get Along”

  1. Alli Polin says:

    Powerful! A team is growing, changing and adapting to reach shared success. I strongly agree with you – unless we change the way we think about teams, we can’t overcome any of the challenges you list here. Old thinking never creates new outcomes.

    Thanks, Kate! Will be sharing online and off line too!

    ~ Alli

    • Kate Nasser says:

      SO glad you like my definition of team Alli. I have been teaching it for a few years and it’s interesting how the initial reaction of resistance turns to acceptance pretty quickly.

      Thank you so much for your insight here and in your blogs posts at

      Grateful regards,

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