Challenges that Teams Face and How to Overcome Them: An Employer's Guide

To help give your business the best chance of success, here are some common challenges that teams face and how to overcome them.


James Rowland

Commercial Director James leads Account Management, Sales and Marketing at Neathouse Partners.


03 December 2021


11 July 2024
7 min read
Challenges that Teams Face and How to Overcome Them: An Employer's Guide

challenges that teams face and how to overcome them

As an employer, building a skilled, hard-working team and giving them the tools they need is vital to running a successful business. An efficient and productive team needs to communicate effectively, work together towards a common goal and respect each other's opinions. And yet, even the best teams face challenges from time to time that can seriously impact your business if they are not resolved.

To help give your business the best chance of success, here are some common challenges that teams face and how to overcome them.

Get in touch with us here for expert HR or employment law advice!


Communication Challenges

If left unresolved, communication breakdowns can lead to frustration and tension within the team, which can impact productivity and creativity. To overcome this challenge, make sure you have an effective way for team members to communicate with each other, preferably in real-time. This could be through email, chat software, video conferencing or just good old-fashioned face-to-face meetings.

Take care to use clear and concise language when communicating with your team, and always try to be receptive and understanding. If a team member needs clarification or help with a particular task or problem they are having, try to provide them with an answer as quickly as possible.


Personality Clashes

When employees have different personality types, they may clash over the best way to reach a goal. This is especially common in teams with a mix of seniority levels or with people from varying departments who are approaching the goal from a different angle. However, having a mix of different personalities in your team is one of the best ways to foster productive debate and innovation.

To avoid personality clashes from causing rifts or having a negative effect on the office atmosphere, make it clear what is expected of team members and set ground rules for constructive dialogue when disagreements arise between colleagues.


Trust Issues     

It is important that your staff feel comfortable speaking up when they spot an issue that could affect business performance. However, there may be times when an employee does not trust a colleague or superior to have their back if they make their feelings known.

This can cause serious issues for a business where poor practices can end up becoming part of the culture because nobody wants to whistleblow.

To ensure that every member of your team has trust in your business, you need to be as transparent as possible. The best way to do this is by providing your team with regular updates about what you are doing as a company, the direction of the business and any changes that may affect them personally or professionally.


Poor Planning 

When time isn't managed well within a team, it can result in deadlines being missed, customers and partners being dissatisfied and, ultimately, your business underperforming. It is vital, therefore, that sufficient time is spent on planning every aspect of your business operations down to the tiniest detail. This may involve disciplining team members who regularly miss deadlines for unacceptable reasons, rewarding members who are always on time and making everyone aware of their responsibilities.

To ensure that your team never faces a situation in which poor planning affects the business, make sure either you or your managers meet with team members regularly to discuss how each person's role is progressing towards their ultimate goal or deadline. You can also use milestones such as quarterly reviews to give employees a chance to report back on their individual progress within the company hierarchy.



While competitiveness can fuel productivity and high standards, team members who are competitive at the expense of the team can have a hugely negative effect on a business. For example, if two members of the team are competing for a promotion, they may begin to put their own interests before those of the business and try to undermine each other.

To avoid over-competitive employees causing issues in your company culture, make sure you reward teamwork as much as individual success. You could do this by providing incentives such as bonuses for teams who consistently exceed targets or celebrate milestones like reaching month-end close together. You should also encourage senior members of staff to mentor junior members rather than seeing them as a potential threat to their positions.

team members in meeting


A Lack of Motivation

There are many reasons why an employee might lose motivation such as mundane, repetitive work duties or insufficient reward for their efforts. However, the most common reason is that they feel under-appreciated by managers or colleagues, especially if there has been a recent change in strategy which has left them with diminished or vastly altered responsibilities.

To boost productivity and keep your employees motivated, you need to take steps to ensure everyone feels valued at work. The best way to do this is by not only praising good performance but by taking the time to understand what motivates every individual member of staff. You should also be open about changes within the company so workers know where their future lies and how these changes will affect them.


Workplace Bullying or Harassment

Sadly, workplace bullying and harassment are all too common in many industries. This can take the form of verbal abuse, spreading rumours, intimidation, social exclusion or even physical violence. It is, therefore, crucial that every company has a well-functioning HR team to deal with complaints, and that there is a clear channel for team members to raise issues without feeling worried about negative consequences.

If you have a member of staff who is being bullied or harassed by another employee, it is important to deal with the situation as quickly as possible. You should first speak to the victim to get their account of what has been happening and then speak to the alleged perpetrator to get their side of the story. If it is found that bullying or harassment has taken place, you must take swift disciplinary action against the perpetrator including dismissing them from the company.

Disciplinary procedures should be universal across all levels of the company so that even the highest-ranking executives and the most junior members of your team are held to the same high standards.


Skills Gaps

If your team is struggling to meet deadlines or achieve targets, it could be due to a lack of skills within the team. This can be caused by a number of things such as staff turnover, new hires not being up to speed with company processes or an industry that is in rapid flux.

To overcome skill gaps in your team, you need to take action quickly. The best way to do this is by providing employees with access to training and development opportunities. You should also encourage workers to share their skills and knowledge with one another so everyone can learn from each other's strengths and weaknesses. If you are unable to plug those skill gaps by training existing team members, you may then need to bring in new staff.


Negative Changes in the Industry or Marketplace

Any business that fails to react swiftly enough when faced with negative changes in the industry or marketplace is always going to struggle, particularly if you operate in a fast-moving sector. There are various factors that can lead a marketplace or industry to become unrecognisable including changes in customer behaviour, new competitors entering the market or a shift in public opinion.

If your company is experiencing negative changes, you need to act fast to turn things around. The first step is to assess the situation and understand what has changed and why. You should then develop a strategy that addresses these issues head-on. This may include making retraining your teams, changing your product offerings or rebranding the company altogether. Whatever course of action you decide to take, it is crucial that you communicate these plans effectively to all members of staff so everyone is aware of what is happening and their role within the company going forward.

happy productive team members


Staffing Levels

If your team is understaffed, it can lead to a number of problems including increased workloads, staff frustration and low morale. It can also impact your company's ability to meet deadlines and achieve targets. On the other hand, if you are over-staffed, this can lead to over-complication of processes, boredom due to insufficient work duties and stagnant wages as a result of restricted profitability.

To ensure that you have the right number of members in your teams, you should regularly review staffing levels and see where any additions or changes should be made. If it is found that there are too many employees in a certain area, then you may want to look at restructuring or outsourcing some teams, while if some team members are seriously overworked, you may need to consider hiring some extra help.


Wasted Talent

Running a successful business means utilising every drop of talent in your teams. Using your team members effectively will result in increased productivity, improved results and happier employees. And yet, so many business owners and managers fail to take full advantage of their teams' talents or automatically look to hire from outside when a new position becomes available.

There are many reasons why talented employees may be under-used in a business. It could be due to poor management, a lack of trust between team leaders and staff or a poor working environment that prevents team members from offering to do something outside their remit. If you feel that one or more members of your team are not being used to their full potential, you should investigate the issue and try to find a solution.

This may include discussing the situation with the team member, offering them extra incentives to take on new responsibilities or moving them to another part of the company where they will be more productive.

The best way to utilise all your talent, however, is to always look to promote from within. Whenever there is a new position available in your company, take the time to assess all the team members and see who would be the best fit for the role. If there is nobody suitable, see if you can train them for the position before you look outside the company for a candidate.


Disputes about Pay Or Working Conditions

Disputes about pay or working conditions are a common occurrence in the workplace. When staff feel that they are not being treated fairly, it can lead to disharmony and tension between team members and management and can also impact their productivity and motivation levels.

If you find yourself in the middle of a dispute with your employees over pay or working conditions, it is important to try and resolve the situation as quickly as possible. The first step is to sit down with all parties involved and discuss the problem calmly and rationally. You should then look at ways to compromise so that everyone walks away happy. It is important to be open with your employees about the state of the business so they don't wrongly believe your company is making huge profits and not fairly rewarding your team members for their hard work.


Losing Talented Team Members to Rivals  

When you have invested time and money into training your employees, it can be extremely frustrating when they leave the company for a rival. This is especially true if they are leaving to take up an equivalent or better position with a direct competitor.

Knowing why talented team members are choosing to go elsewhere will help you to address the issue. There are many reasons why employees may choose to leave, but the most common ones are a lack of recognition, feeling undervalued or unappreciated, poor working conditions, boredom and disputes about pay or working conditions.

If you can identify the root cause of the problem, you can then take steps to address it. This may include offering your employees additional training and development opportunities, increasing their salaries or improving their working conditions.

team working together


Final Thoughts

At Neathouse Partners, we understand the importance of a great team. If you need some expert legal or HR advice, get in touch with us to discuss these common challenges that teams face and how to overcome them.


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