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Elizabeth Fuss Arnott, SPHR  I have been working in Human Resources for 23 years. Since 2011, I have been certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR).  I have a BA in English and a Master of Jurisprudence in Labor and Employment Law from Tulane Law School. I live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband Luke and our cat, Poirot. I write about HR, non-profits, the art of managing people and Neurodiversity in the workplace. I'm available for employment, contract work, consulting, coaching and training virtually and in the Portland, OR area. Please email me at for more information. 

  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Arnott, SPHR

Why Your Team Isn't Working Well Together

You've put the team together, given them the target goal. Now, they won't work together. One or two people are doing everything, while the others are standing by, unable to get a word in, and seeming like they don't really care. This kind of work set up is not going to garner the best results, not to mention the damage to the team morale.. Here are four questions to ask to get to the bottom of the problem:

1. Do your team members have overlapping strengths and weaknesses?

Creating a team with complementary strengths is going to create better product. You need big picture leaders, people obsessed with detail, process driven people, and subject matter experts - just to name a few types.

2. Do you have enough diversity in background, experience, perspective and thought?

If all of the team members look the same, have the same amount of experience and come from similar backgrounds, you are not going to have the diversity of thought that you need to create a well-rounded result that appeals and is useful to your diverse customer or employee base.

3. Have you established a culture that allows freedom to fail, question and innovate?

Feeling safe to fail - meaning that people aren't worried about being humiliated, chastised or disciplined for failure - means that people feel safe to throw out ideas, ask questions and give feedback. Do your employees feel safe to fail? Not sure? Ask! Take steps to create that environment. Model psychologically safe behavior. Encourage ideas.

4. Have you established a culture of respect?

When people feel respected and valued, they are going to give more. When leaders model respectful behavior, employees will follow. Think about what happened the last time there was a conflict on your team. Were the conversations centered on personal jabs, or were the conversations centered on problem solving? Were people focused on listening or responding? Listening is key. Respect is essential to productivity.

Evaluate. Listen. Reorganize. Try again!

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