Overcoming Roadblocks to Building a Team

Overcoming Roadblocks to Building a Team

It is common to encounter roadblocks during the process of building your team. Roadblocks manifest in many different forms. Roadblocks, however, should not spell an end to the team building process. You should expect roadblocks to occur. It is natural for it to happen because we are expecting behavior change, which that in and of itself is a task for the team members.

In this blog post, we will discuss ways to overcoming roadblocks. Some of the things you will learn are identifying common roadblocks, re-evaluate goals and focus on progress. Roadblocks are not dead ends. They are warning signs that will help you identify when you need to intervene and get your team back on track.

Common Obstacles to Building a Team

Building a team takes two parties to accomplish. The team leader must be just as engaged as the team members. Lack of zeal and honesty creates roadblocks that will hinder your team’s ability to reach their goals. Here are some common obstacles we, as team leaders create:

  • Do not have enough time to lead the team properly
  • Lack of confidence in leading the team
  • Fear of confrontation
  • Feels awkward
  • Fear of failure in leading the team
  • Afraid team will not respond

Now, from the team’s perspective, here are some common obstacles they may encounter:

  • Home/life issues are blocking progress
  • Fear of losing their job
  • Lack of confidence reaching the goal
  • Denial there is anything wrong
  • Poor relationship with the team leader

Obstacles come in many different forms. However, the root of the obstacles typically comes from a personal deficiency in their life situation. Maslow’s theory of needs outlines basic needs we all must have in order to reach higher order needs. Here is a brief overview of the needs.

  • Physical need
  • Safety need
  • Social need
  • Esteem need
  • Growth need

The basics of all needs are the physical and safety needs. If a person is lacking in either of these areas, they will find it difficult to progress further into the higher needs. For example, if you know a team member is having issues at home, their physical or safety need may be at risk, creating an obstacle to reaching a team goal, which is a higher order need. When faced with a needs issue, try your best to acknowledge the need and guide them to a qualified resource to assist them with this issue.

Let us look at how to re-evaluate goals and realign the team back to achieving the goal.

Reevaluating Team Goals

As time passes from the original team building session, you want to check in with your team and see where they are at, in respect to the goal that was set. It is at this point, where you may want to re-evaluate the team goal and determine if it is still SMART.

There are several things you want to take into consideration when re-evaluating goals. First, re-evaluating does not mean that you have to change it. Reevaluating is an opportunity to check on the team goal and to determine how your team is doing in achieving this goal. Here are some steps you want to take when re-evaluating a team goal:

  • Revisit the starting point. You want to review where you began. This way you are able to see if progress has been made and your team is moving towards the goal.
  • Determine what has been accomplished. Look at what the current performance level is and compare it to the starting point determined earlier.
  • Review the amount of time left with respect to the goal date. You want to see if the amount of improvement is aligned with how much time has passed or how much time is left before the goal date is reached.
  • Determine if the time remaining before the goal date is adequate to fulfill the goal. Here you want to see if there is still enough time to improve and reach the goal.
  • If not enough time is left to accomplish the team goal by goal date, then set a new goal and goal date based on how much improvement has been accomplished and the time it took to get there.
  • If there is still enough time, set smaller goals to help the team move towards the established general goal.

In overcoming roadblocks, you may need to be more flexible. Perhaps the goal originally seemed like a viable goal, but when put into practice it becomes apparent the team will not be able to reach it. Do not become frustrated. Be flexible and understanding of your team if you have to reset a goal.

Related: Goal Setting Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Focusing on Progress in Building the Team

If you find yourself with a team member  struggling with reaching the team goals, you may be tempted to pull them over and discuss how they are missing the mark and the related consequences.

Focusing on the negative aspects will only create more obstacles. Remember the hierarchy of needs mentioned earlier? Well, if you start making the team building session feel more negative, the team member may feel that their place in the team is threatened. If this happens, they will become more fearful and this adds to the roadblocks.

Related: Changing Your Team’s Perspective

Instead of focusing on the negatives, focus on the progress. Tell the team member that you see progress and that you believe that they are able to make their goals. Speaking positively expands the team member’s belief about themselves. Use encouraging phrases like the ones here:

  • I know you are not quite there yet, but you managed to improve this much in such a short amount of time.
  • Your progress is steady and you are showing promise that you will reach that goal.
  • You showed definite improvement since our last discussion. I am confident you are going to hit this goal.

It is easy to speak into the positive aspects of progress. The benefits of focusing on progress could reap the following:

When you speak positively to your team, then positive things come out, but if you speak negatively, and then you will get a negative reaction.


Roadblocks should not stand in the way of building your team. By identifying the obstacles and working towards overcoming each one, team goals can be reached. Sometimes team goals will have to be reevaluated, but if you continue to focus on the positive your team will progress. Team building events are essential in the process of building your team. It gives you the opportunity to interact with your team and identify possible roadblocks in building your team.


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