4 Causes of Poor Team Dynamics and How to Avoid Them

The ability of a team to produce the right results and even exceed expectations is determined by a lot of things. One of them and a very important one at that is Team/Group Dynamics.

Understanding the things that boost team dynamics and implementing them will help steer your group in the right direction. Just so you understand how important this subject is, there are many renowned theorists who have spoken about group dynamics and many more keep coming up with theories.

In the spirit of ensuring that group dynamic is improved, you need to be aware of the things that can threaten it. This is a good way to start and so this article will shed light on this subject.

What Is the Major Idea Behind Team Dynamics?

The core idea behind it is ensuring that group members have a good working and general relationship with each other. One that is bound to ensure productivity and that this is not threatened amongst members of the group.

It takes so many things into account and hierarchy is one of such things. As such, it entails coming up with sound plans to make sure everyone relates well with each other and that this improves productivity among other things.

Things that Are Known to Cause Poor Team Dynamics

Many academic and even non-academic fields have explored this subject. This is why many key theorists have formulated theories to this end.

We are talking about the likes of Richard Hackman, William Schutz, Bruce Tuckman, Wilfred Bion, Sigmund Freud, Scott Peck, Jacob Moreno, William McDougall, and Kurt Lewin.

These are just a few of them as there are several others. In light of what these theorists have discovered and several experiences in the workplace, listed and explained below are some reasons for poor group dynamics, especially in the workplace:

1.      Weak and Questionable Leadership

The competence of leadership is always bound to reflect on the group being led. Things are bound to change when leadership changes. Seeing how significant a leadership position is, it has to be occupied by the right person or set of persons.

This is because many teams that are seen to have this problem are known to have weak and questionable leadership. We suggest that three things should be considered non-Negotiables when choosing leaders of groups. These are competence, integrity, and drive/passion.

Leaders that are not found wanting in any of these will be determined to do all reasonably possible to ensure group dynamics are fostered. So, you should take note of this going forward.

2.      The Leader-Is-Everything Mentality

The position of the leader is a very sensitive and important one as stressed above. You might want to know that this point also stresses this but in a different way.

We have gathered that some groups are not doing so well in this regard because of how the leader is perceived. Some groups have come to see their leader(s) as the only one that can say or do something that counts.

This is not the right approach. This collective mindset among some groups is a faulty one and bound to cause this problem. So, this mindset should not be found in your group.

Rather, everyone must understand that creativity and participation are accepted and appreciated by everyone (leaders and those being led). This is regardless of the position. This is the right mindset that should be upheld by team members and the leadership should make sure of this.

And by the way, this mindset does not downplay the role of the leader. The reason is that the leader will be in charge of vetting the participation of group members among other things.

3.      Withdrawal Mindset

For the record, other terms can be used to qualify the point being discussed here. One of them is what is known as the free-riding mentality.

Having made this clear, this is the reasoning and behavior of some group members that allows them to leave the bulk of the work to a select few. This is something that is capable of causing poor team dynamics and should be discouraged.

It threatens the productivity of the group at large. Rather than embrace the withdrawal/free-riding mentality, everyone needs to come on board the best way they can. We have chosen to say the best way they can because the capabilities of everyone are different.

However, no one in the team should work with the mindset that only a select few will get the job done. As a piece of advice, this should start from the recruitment process. This means that the recruiters need to be very sure a true team-spirited member is being brought on board.

This is important because some people are good individually but terrible when it comes to working with/in a team. So, take note of this going forward.

4.      Inappropriate Criticism

Working in a team means that you are working with different kinds of people. This is because they have different backgrounds and other things that differentiate them.

Well, you would realize that mistakes are going to happen among team members and these mistakes need to be addressed. This is so that they do not repeat themselves in the future and so that the team will be productive.

In correcting mistakes that happen among team members, the wrong actions should be condemned and not the person. There is a huge difference between condemning the wrong action and condemning the person.

Understanding this is very critical for improving team dynamics. The reason is that group members tend to withdraw from being active participants when they are condemned rather than their wrong acts.


Knowing the causes of poor team dynamics will help you avoid them and this will help the group in the long and even short term. You can check out for more on this subject.

That being said, the 4 causes of poor team dynamics discussed here should be well known, especially by team leaders. This is so that they will do all within their power to avoid these threats going forward.

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