What are the challenges of working with others?

It’s common knowledge that working together often promotes creativity and even increases the overall productivity of the group. Whilst this is obviously a great thing, many often untold challenges come hand-in-hand when working with others either in the workplace of for recreational activities. If not dealt with correctly, these challenges have the power to ruin a team and create a horrible environment in which you often are forced to go to, in the case of a job. This is why you should read the following article on how to combat some of the most prevalent issues in the workplace.

In this article, you will see some of the most common challenges that come across people working with others that you might even be suffering from. Make sure to read along and correctly identify how to combat these problems in order to make your workplace a much more friendly and productive environment! You will see how to combat:

  • Lack of trust
  • Low self-awareness
  • Lack of communication
  • Negative attitude

Through checking each sub-heading with the problem on it that you believe is challenging your team the most, you will find why the problem occurs and how to stop it from happening in the first place. As-long as you follow this advice, the group bickering when you’re trying to complete a task will be no more!

1. Lack of trust

As you may know, trust is the quintessential building block of most relationships, whether they be family or work-related. Trust is critical for a team to be successful, and a lack of trust can completely ruin a team due to it creating a toxic culture, shutting down communication and then becoming detrimental to productivity. This then completely de-motivates team members to strive for a good outcome, and results in a pretty shoddy end product of the job in question.

To help combat this, start by just being yourself in the workplace or other environment. This is a really good way to establish trust with the group members and then break down the barriers of miscommunication that stand in your way. When you show up to the job as your own authentic self, it is way easier to establish healthy interpersonal relationships that have been built on honest and open exchanges. This will then allow you to communicate your truthful thoughts on what direction you think the job is going in, which then lets your team members understand that you are open and honest with them, thus creating a relationship built on trust.

Once you have created a high trust environment, people will be able to work productively and happily due to them feeling safe and connected to others. Amy Edmondson, a Harvard business school professor has done a large amount of research relating to a trust benefiting teamwork and productivity, as seen in the following link. She has been able to conclude that interpersonal trust and mutual respect are the two things that characterize a functional team, due to it being in this environment that people are most comfortable in themselves. Evidently, trust is a pretty vital tool necessary for the success of a project that involves working with others.

2. Low self-awareness

If you have ever done much work with others in the past, you will know the feeling of frustration that comes hand-in-hand when working with someone who demonstrates the many traits of low self-awareness. This means that they are resistant to any and all feedback, appear to know everything about everything, blame others for all failures and take credit where credit is certainly not due. These irritating traits are actually much more common than you might think, with a recent Harvard business study indicating that ‘despite 95% of people believing they are self-aware, only 5-10% actually is’. On top of this, they also go into say ‘low self-aware team members go on to cut the chance of success for a group in half’. Evidently, team members with low self-awareness can detriment a project pretty bad, so how can we go about combatting this?

First, you need to understand what the real problem is and if they are actually lacking self-awareness or are just currently living in a stressful environment. Some key factors to look out for in low self-aware individuals is that they won’t accept any feedback, cannot empathize with others, have difficulty understanding the social situation, posses an inflated opinion on their contribution to the task and are hurtful to others without realizing it. Now that you have possibly identified this type of individual, you can see if they are aware or unaware they are acting this manner by how they react to certain benchmarks in the group progress. For example, an unaware individual would praise the group for completing something, despite him negatively contributing to it, and an aware individual would not only lack a contribution but would then let everyone know their opinion on how bad the project is going. To help the unaware, you must talk to them about what they are doing, and provide them with honest feedback on how they can change to make the group more successful. This may be a steep climb, with research showing that only 31% of individuals who tried to better their colleagues were successful in the process.

If individual self-awareness were to be increased, then the quality of connections inside the group would improve, and so too would your likelihood of successfully working with others. This then improves the team’s engagement levels, and before you know it a high quality finished product will be completed as a result of you taking the action to let a low self-aware individual improve on their social skills.

3. Lack of communication

When working with others, the most important thing that you can do is to establish good communication with your team members, allowing you to be productive and produce high-quality work. A lack of communication means that there will undoubtedly be room for misinterpretation, which then allows for mistakes to occur that may only be discovered when it is too late. When lacking an understanding of what your team-members think due to a lack of communication, the overall job will suffer and you may get some angry superiors. So, to help combat this, here are some helpful tips to make communication easy.

You can establish a form of a voting system to prove that each opinion is valued and no-one is better than anyone else. For example, say you wish to print the work on an A3 document, but another person wishes to print it on an A2 document, then you should take this to the group and have a quick raise of hands to see who thinks what should happen. It’s important not to take the answers personally if no-one chooses your offer, as they are only acting with the best interest of the project at heart. You could also establish a baseline of which to measure progress and success, which comes from an initial assessment of problem areas. This baseline then provides evidence as to what is working well, so you can then adjust this in the near future and improve upon your overall communication.

With successful communication, you will able to reap numerous benefits that will be great for your team project as a whole. Communication allows the group to express their ideas and themselves, which in turn allows them to feel more comfortable in the working environment which as mentioned will improve the productivity of the team. Communication is possibly the most essential part of a functional working team, which is why you must meticulously follow the aforementioned steps to make sure that you are getting the best out of your time in a group project.

4. Negative attitude

When there is a problem when working with others, there are two types of people. The people who complain about it and shout at others to fix it, and the people who quietly get on with it and efficiently fix the issue. This negativity is also contagious, meaning if someone turns to have a complaint about something, the person they are telling will either just recite this back to them or another individual. It creates a cycle of inefficiency which is extremely detrimental to the team’s success, which is exactly why there should be no room for a negative attitude in the workplace.

A way to combat this is to take your complaint through the proper channels. It is extremely understandable to have an issue with the way a group project is going, but to deal with this by simply shouting and complaining at the first person you see is not the right way to go. You need to figure out who in the group is the right person with whom to discuss your concerns, and then in a calm manner relay your concerns upon them, without the sense of blame in your voice. This then allows the negativity aspect of the concern to completely disappear, and the issue will be met efficiently and smartly.


Evidently, a positive attitude will benefit your team through numerous brilliant ways. Whether it be the way it eradicates the snarkiness and rudeness associated with loudly complaining about an issue, or how it allows a problem to be solved productively, one thing is for sure: A positive attitude strongly improves your team’s capabilities, making it much easier to work with others.

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