Team work implies a number of individuals striving towards a common goal. Depending on your personality you might either love or hate working in a team.
Working in a team could prove to be an incredible learning experience when there is a readiness among the members to share information with one another; each member trusts and supports each other and also there is a willingness to stand by one another in time of crisis.
However things could become chaotic when the team does put forth a united front. Here are some of the most common advantages and disadvantages of working in a team-
Advantages of Working in a Team:
1. Division of Work:
One of the biggest advantages of working in a team is that there is most often an equal division of labor so instead of having to look into all the aspects of a project individually, each person merely has to deal with one aspect of it. Smaller tasks obviously require less time and effort to complete so working in a team cuts down work load significantly.
However working in a team does not imply that you simply focus on your own part, your first priority is obviously your individual task however once you have completed it, you could always be of some assistance to someone else. When you are a part of a team you automatically learn how to work in an unobtrusive and altruistic manner.
2. Shared responsibility when things go wrong:
If for some reason the project fails, then a good team will stand by one another such that they can jointly take responsibility and shoulder the blame. The best kinds of teams are those that are united at all times no matter what. Those teams that resort to pointing fingers at one another during times of crisis show a lack of team spirit.
While working in a team each member should always give his or her one hundred percent because when everyone gives his or her best then only can the outcome be good, even the smallest of mistakes could cost the entire team.
3. Gaining new perspective:
One of the main advantages of working in a team is that you can learn to look at things from an entirely new perspective. Over the years you might be used to doing things in a particular manner but when you work in a team then you get to observe how other people work. Though your manner of doing things might be good yet there might be an easier and more efficient way of getting the same task done.
Team work does not imply that you renounce your individuality and follow the way in which others work; it simply implies that you get new ideas and learn new things from other members of the team. Working in a team makes one extremely open and receptive to different things when you work in a team everyone’s points of view are taken into consideration and only after careful weighing and measuring of pros and cons does the team jointly come to a decision.
4. Improves communication skills:
For any team project to be a success it is vital that each team member communicates and consults with the rest of the group such that no one feels in the dark about any decision made and that everyone is in agreement.
Even if you are working on the one aspect of the project that has been assigned to you, it is important to make sure that you are constantly giving the rest of your team mates updates pertaining to your progress at each stage.
It is the responsibility of each member to ensure that everyone’s work is running smoothly and that no person has been burdened with excess amount of work.
5. Development of leadership qualities:
Though being the leader of a team could be a challenge it is also an extremely enriching experience. Being a leader does not imply that you throw your weight around and get things done your way, it means that you serve as a link between team members when you notice that there is some kind of communication gap among members or when you find that an individual is not giving his or her best.
The best kinds of leaders are those that are willing to help anyone in need of it as well as those that are completely honest with the members of the team.
6. You get to play to your strengths:
Since there is a division of work in a team each member can focus on whatever aspect of the project which each individual believes that he or she can handle. When you work in a team you get to decide on which part of the project you are comfortable working on. If there is something you are not comfortable working with then you do not have to stress yourself about it you can simply look into something else.
Everyone’s talents lie in different fields so you can take up whatever task you feel comfortable working on and whatever task you think you will not be able to do justice to, someone else can take that up.
Disadvantages of Working in a Team:
1. Indulging in the blame game when things go wrong:
In times of crisis it is easiest for the team members to point a finger at someone else and indulge in the blame game. Since there is more collective rather than individual responsibility involved in a team project it is often difficult to tell where things went wrong.
Things become most challenging when one person does his work correctly and the other makes a mistake, as many individuals cannot bear the thought of shouldering the blame when they did their own part flawlessly.
People also resort to the blame game when they believe that there has been an unequal and unfair distribution of work. Problems like these almost always arise when people work in teams. These problems cost rifts among even the best of friends.
2. Unequal involvement and participation of different members:
It is challenging to work in a team when everyone does not put in his or her best efforts. There are two kinds of people while working in a group- those that work tirelessly to get things done and then there are those that are laid back and do not adhere to any deadlines. It is due to some lazy individuals like this that things go wrong and to avoid failure it is often either the team leader or other team members that have to take on the additional task of completing another person’s quota of work as well.
For example in a college group project everyone gets the same grade irrespective of how much work each person has done, this is one of the chief disadvantages of working in a team. It might breed a lot of ill will among members when they have to take the fall for something they have not done.
3. Clash of ideas:
Things can go incredibly wrong or even fall apart when there is a great deal difference in the working methods of different individuals. Many people prefer to work much in advance and some people believe in working last minute as they think that the pressure brings out the best in them. In such a case it becomes increasingly difficult to coordinate things among different people.
In addition to having varying working styles, things also become complicated when there is a clash of ideas and neither members are willing to compromise. Differences in methodology are much easier to sort out as opposed to ideological differences.
4. One team members desire to outshine the rest:
When working in a team it is important for each member to have team spirit. It becomes complicated when one member has the burning desire to outshine the other members of the team.
When an individual starts putting his individual needs before the needs of the group, then the groups can no longer function efficiently. Those individuals that want to show themselves to be better than the rest often fail to shares or communicate their own ideas to the rest of the team and this leads to a communication gap or even a breakdown of communication as a whole.
Working in a dysfunctional group often becomes a source of tremendous stress.
5. You might have to deal with an over bearing team leader:
One of the most common disadvantages of working in a team is that you might have to deal with an over bearing and authoritative leader that is unwilling to listen to your point of view or ideas. In addition to this, it might be more painful when the leader takes the praise for work that you have done or ideas which you have come up with.
These are some of the chief pros and cons involved in working in a team. Though there are a number of advantages involved in being a part of a team, yet at the same time there are an equal number of pit falls, making you wonder if working individually is actually a better option.