Teamwork Sucks Because Most Managers Suck

Why teams? Do we accomplish more and reduce costs, or is it just wishful thinking? Working in teams makes for a great sound bite, but in the real world, your world, do they produce the results you want, or do they create more problems than they’re worth? Every semester – in at least one of my college business classes, I would have a team assignment worth a significant portion of the student’s final grade; I picked the teams – they chose their team leader. If you asked them about their challenges and experiences working on a team, most would tell you that teamwork sucks.

Worth Remembering – “It is not the individual but the team that is the instrument of sustained and enduring success in management.” – Anthony Jay.

Teamwork sucks because some team members are slackers and don’t fully participate and pull their weight. These “Social Loafers” count on blending into the background where their lack of effort isn’t easily spotted. And if spotted, they know that most team members are reluctant to do anything about it. Teamwork sucks because not everyone on the team shows up to meetings on time, if at all, and seldom replies to emails or text messages. Teamwork sucks because the quality of some team members’ work often falls short of expectations, so the team leader has to redo their portion of the project. Teamwork sucks because most managers suck.

Worth Remembering – “Coming together is a beginning – keeping together is progress – working together is a success.” – Henry Ford

Having team members work together is a challenging undertaking at the best of times. You can’t expect to throw a bunch of people together, call them a team, and expect them to perform like one without carefully setting team goals and priorities and how team members are selected and trained. Everyone on the team needs to work harmoniously and coordinate their efforts with the other team members to accomplish the overall team objective.

Teamwork sucks, and what managers can do about it.

  • Managers must monitor individual performances so social loafers can’t go undetected. You must hold everyone accountable.
  • Managers can improve team performance by selecting individuals based on their soft skills and not just their technical abilities. Choose people who like being around people and working with others.
  • Managers must be tuned in to the “Unofficial Grapevine” to know what is happening. No news is not good news.
  • Managers must keep their lines of communication open – so everyone on the team is in the loop. Everyone on the team must be able to express their opinions and concerns.
  • Managers must be fair and consistent with everyone on the team when imposing group standards, policies and procedures. Even their superstars need to be held accountable.

What training are you providing to help yourself and your team members to communicate and interact more effectively, resolve conflict or motivate others to perform at their best? It is not the individual but the team that will determine the outcome. Everyone achieves more together, but only if all team members row in the same direction.

Copyright (c) 2023. Brian Smith – Power Link Dynamics. Not to be reproduced without permission. Training doesn’t have to be expensive to be good – it just has to be the right kind of training. All of Brian’s programs can be delivered virtually or in person. To learn more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization, visit or email Brian – at