Common Barriers to the Successful Functioning of High-Performing Teams

High-Performance Teams as we all know can be a blessing for an organization, as such teams play a crucial role in boosting organizational productivity and growth by meeting challenging outcomes. But, such teams are also faced with several barriers or challenges which act as impediments in their journey of excellence. These barriers are caused due to the differences in the attitude, approaches, professional aspirations, roles, qualification and experience backgrounds of the team members.

The members of High-Performance teams under normal circumstances enjoy a great chemistry which gets demonstrated through their actions, work outcomes, professional relationship and the combined goals which they achieve. The foundation pillars of an High-Performance team are mutual trust and confidence, open communication and a collaborative approach. But differences do occur amongst the team members which is resolved at an individual level or with the intervention of the leader. In the absence of right system, structure, management support, leadership and performance management system in place, high-performance teams will not be able to come up with the best results. Let us analyse some of the issues which the High-Performance teams are usually faced with:

  1. Issues in Problem Resolution or Finding out quick solutions: Inability of the team members to provide quick resolution for various issues or conflicting matters result in lack of productivity and poor performance from the team members. It's because, the members waste their time in finding out solutions for fruitless conflicting causes and lose their focus from the productive matters concerning the organizational growth and progress of the team members along with the organization. The team members may struggle with individual disputes, role conflicts, disputes amongst the team members or may have difference on various policy matters of the organization, which should be addressed timely with effective solutions.
  2. Lack of Trust: As discussed before, the success of High-Performance teams greatly depend upon the extent of trust and confidence which the team members have for each other and their collaborative functioning. Lack of trust can be a major barrier in the path of success of high-performance teams as the members will fail to work towards a single purpose and will give importance to individual concerns. In the absence of trust, team efficiency, productivity, quality and probability will be adversely affected.
  3. Relationship Problems: Poor interpersonal relationship amongst the team members can pose a big threat or challenge to the successful performance of the High-Performance teams. The members will prioritise individual well-being and success over the team success.
  4. Leadership Problems: In the absence of an able leadership, the performance of team members is bound to suffer. Leaders play the role of trendsetters and set examples for the team members. They provide strategic direction and set a vision for the team members towards which the collaborative efforts are directed by the members of the team. Leaders enforce a framework of compliance and establish a high-performance culture for the team members, they motivate and ignite the teams to achieve superior benchmarks at work.
  5. Absence or Poorly Defined Core Values: Core values are the pre-defined standards of conduct for the individuals in an organization. These are the salient principles or the guiding framework which influence the behaviour of the team members and their day-to-day actions as well. The management enforce the core values by aligning the same with the performance management system, appraisals or performance review process and with the organizational policies.
  6. Inefficiently Designed Performance Management System and Incentive Structure: A poorly designed and implemented performance management metrics and in the absence of a proper incentive structure, the team members lack the motivation to deliver their best and indulge in unhealthy competition internally with the fellow colleagues. Poor incentive may lead to not so desirable consequences not only for the team members but will also give rise to the internal conflicts within the organization.
  7. Role Ambiguity: In the absence of role clarity amongst the team members, conflicts will happen which will ultimately impede the overall performance of the high-performance teams.
  8. Politics: High-performance teams suffer due to the internal politics and unfair decisions which are implemented as a result of the undue pressure from the leaders and team members with vested personal interests. When politics overrule good judgement or fair decision making, high-performance teams are bound to suffer.
  9. Poor Communication or lack of proper dialogue exchange: The members of High-Performance teams should work collaboratively and be focused towards the achievement of a common goal. Their roles are so interdependent, that without a proper coordination or regular interaction between the team members, the team members will fail to realize the business objectives. In the absence of effective communication and exchange of dialogues, the business will suffer in terms of quality, productivity and the overall efficiency.
  10. Absence of a Proper Feedback Framework: Constructive feedback facilitates performance improvement and helps the team members to overcome their limitations and improve continuously at work. Feedback act as the guiding framework for the team members to perform better, learn from their mistakes and to avoid such mistakes in future. In the absence of an effective feedback framework, the teams will fail to deliver optimal results and act upon their performance related loopholes with effective solutions.

High-Performance teams are required to be nurtured, facilitated and require continuous support as well as the guidance of an able leader who can motivate the team members to continuously exceed the expectations and achieve challenging results. For such teams to prosper and deliver the intended goals, the members of the teams should be made to feel that their presence and contributions are valued, acknowledged and will be rewarded appropriately. The members should have a perception that they are treated more than just employees by their management and also that they can expect due justice for their contributions at work.


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The article is Written By “Prachi Juneja” and Reviewed By Management Study Guide Content Team. MSG Content Team comprises experienced Faculty Member, Professionals and Subject Matter Experts. We are a ISO 2001:2015 Certified Education Provider. To Know more, click on About Us. The use of this material is free for learning and education purpose. Please reference authorship of content used, including link(s) to ManagementStudyGuide.com and the content page url.


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