Teamwork simply refers to activities of a group of people who work together with the aim of attaining a common goal. For such a team to be effective, people have to communicate with one another. Emphasis is put on how they can complement each other’s efforts. Unity is important as it is the source of their strength and everyone understands it. The team makes use of the expertise of each individual. A good example is a company comprising of several departments, all of which work towards attaining the same goal. Current essay seeks to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of teamwork (Mak, 2011).
Advantages of Teamwork
We have seen that teamwork is when a group of people work together with the aim of attaining a common goal. Teamwork is important because it helps to achieve synergy. The total output of the team is sure to exceed the sum of the contributions of individual members. It will result in the creative cooperation of the members of the team in a bid to realize something that would be beyond the capacities of individual members if they worked alone. By evaluating each other’s thinking members of the team will be in a position to avoid making many errors. Mutual support coupled with peer review when it comes to the ideas strengthens the team’s decision making process (Lussier & Achua, 2009).
Teams also contribute to innovation and continuous improvement. Team members tend to feel a greater sense of satisfaction with their jobs. Teamwork speeds up the decision making as well as innovation. It also provides much needed immunity against any disruptive forces. Teams create a working environment that encourages the members to be empowered and self-motivated. It makes them satisfied with their jobs and the consequence will be positive organizational outcomes. By being a member of a given team, one increases the chances of satisfying more needs than if they worked on their own. In a team, the needs of security, affiliation, self-fulfillment and self-esteem will all be met. The team members develop a sense of trust and, at times, they will see the team as an important unit capable of fulfilling other needs (Lussier & Achua, 2009).
Organizational teams also enhance productivity, ensure that the available resources are used in a more effective manner and result in the production of better products and provision of better services. It motivates the members to contribute their creativity and knowledge. A decision made by the team tends to represent various interests in the organization. Responsibility is shared instead of relying on one or few individuals (Mangano, 2007)
Teams are important as they ensure that there is flexibility at the workplace. If one member happens to be absent or ill, their work can easily be covered by other members. People can also be trained to do a variety of jobs. The morale and spirit of an individual can also be boosted if he is part of a team. Teamwork facilitates specialization as team members are assigned tasks that they can perform most efficiently. The mixture of talents in the team also offers a variety of expertise and abilities (On the Team 2010).
Disadvantages of Teamwork
Being part of a team may make some team members feel pressured to conform to the conduct, performance and standards of the group. Some people may resist the team effort because they may view teamwork as an infringement of their autonomy. Moreover, it may lead to social loafing or shrinking of individual responsibility. Working in teams may also result in group thinking, when the members agree to some issues not because they subscribe to that group of thought but because they are afraid of facing rejection from other members for providing a dissenting opinion (Lussier & Achua, 2009).
Despite the fact that cohesion is an important quality in organizational teams, extreme cohesion can, at times, lead to conflicts, especially with other teams. Too much cohesion may also make the teams seem like cliques that are characterized by very little outside influence or interaction. Members may also feel under pressure to reach the team’s objectives and also stand by their team mates. High levels of this kind of pressure may in the long run lead to high stress levels. If not properly managed, It may significantly affect the performance of the team (Lussier & Achua, 2009).
Team work can lead to unequal participation whereby some members may simply sit back and let others do a lot of the work. Some members may also prefer to work alone and, thus, they may not make the best team players. Creative thinking may also be limited by teamwork. The employees may reserve their ideas because they are engrossed in work for the overall good of the organization. The team can also take a longer period of time to produce the desired result (Joseph).
Effective team leaders are able to find means to maximize the advantages of teamwork and and at the same time minimize its disadvantages. It will put the organization as well as the individuals in a better place to optimize their output and achieve their set goals. Team work should be encouraged because it has been proven to work. However, necessary steps need to be taken to ensure that the organization and the individual players are not negatively impacted by teamwork. Overall, I prefer teamwork as it enables organizations to achieve more as opposed to individual results.