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Recognize – And Overcome – These 10 Common Obstacles To Teamwork


Most entrepreneurs like the idea of accomplishing more by teaming up with others. So what stops them? The biggest obstacles are mental ones—ways of thinking that keep you from experiencing great teamwork. But since they happen in your mind, you can transform them in an instant.

See if you recognize the following teamwork obstacles in your thinking—and how much you can improve your teamwork with the suggested attitudes:

  1. “I have to do all my own dirty work.” You may not like doing something, but someone out there can’t wait to get their hands on it!
  2. “I need to find someone just like me.” That’s fine if you’re looking to replace yourself, but if you want to leverage yourself, don’t look for a clone; look for someone who shares your values but has the skills you don’t.
  3. “There’s virtue in hard work.” While it’s true that hard work can pay off, it doesn’t necessarily follow that everything worthwhile has to be difficult. If you keep having to use the “brute force method” to get things done, something’s off. When you or a team member are using a talent, getting results can be a quick, easy, and enjoyable process.
  4. “I should be good at everything.” Nobody excels at everything, and there’s no shame in admitting your weaknesses. The more conscious you are about what you’re good at and how you create value, the more useful you are.
  5. “But doing this got me to where I am now.” If you’ve got a powerful goal to do something bigger and better, you may need to do things differently, or release your “death grip” on certain activities you’re used to doing yourself.
  6. “But I am an [X].” It’s easy to slip into being defined by your title, role, or specialty, but that probably doesn’t express all of who you are or what you can do. What kind of [X] do you want to be? And what else might you do if you weren’t restricted to being just that?
  7. “I’m not good at hiring people.” This one is scary and challenging for a lot of entrepreneurs, so at the beginning, it may just take courage and trust. If you’re truly committed to growth, then you’ll need to get past the point of believing, “It’s easier to do it myself” and tap into the world of talent around you.
  8. Thinking that everyone can do anything with enough motivation and brainpower. While sometimes true, this is an extremely inefficient point of view. Regardless of what people can do, it’s important to look at what people actually will do. Profiles such Kolbe*, DISC†, and StrengthsFinder†† illustrate clearly that we’re all equipped with certain talents and strengths. Learning and playing to these strengths is the shortcut to faster, easier, bigger, and more efficient results.
  9. “I can’t afford it.” People are not a cost, but an investment. Your vision, abilities, and solutions are worth investing in—and you can get resourceful: You don’t have to pay salaries upfront, just every two weeks. And you might be able to use one of the growing number of virtual services to accomplish tasks. Remember, if you don’t have an assistant, you are one!
  10. “I can do it better myself.” This attitude halts teamwork and makes others afraid to do anything or offer up ideas for fear of criticism. Instead of seeing people as things—like cogs in a wheel or factory workers executing instructions—think of them as team members, partners, and individuals who have unique skills and insights they want to contribute to your goals.

*Kathy Kolbe and Kolbe Corp. All rights reserved. †For more information about the DISC profile, visit
††StrengthsFinder® is a registered trademark of The Gallup Organization.