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It is always a great idea to work in tandem with other people as opposed to working alone. The old adage, two heads are better than one is true all the time. If it is better to work with a partner then surely it is highly recommended to work as a team. It is a documented fact that teamwork enables a group of individuals to accomplish more than a person working alone.
Working with a team makes it possible to increase productivity, share the burden of the workload, generate better ideas, and the combination of talents can produce amazing results. But aside from working with a team, the next important thing to learn is how to manage a team to increase the efficiency of everyone involved. Thus, teamwork plus good leadership equals amazing results.
In an organization setting or in a highly competitive industry there is no better way to tackle problems and to accomplish tasks other than to do it with a team (Cavaleri, 2005, p.5). There are so many things that have to be completed within a certain time frame and there are so many bases to cover that it is impossible for an individual to handle all the work. One of the consequences of working alone is poor performance and the possibility of a burn out.
Michael West in his book, Effective Teamwork lists some of the reasons why it would be better to work with a group and he listed the advantages as: a) enable efficient learning; b) saves precious time; c) innovative solutions can be formulated; d) lower stress levels; and e) thus, more work is accomplished (West, 2004, p.7). One can also add other benefits such as cooperation, sharing of resources and the power unleashed in combining different types of talents and skills.
Team work is important because even with the help of cutting-edge technology no one has solved the physical challenge of being in two places at the same time (Thierauf, 2001, p.10). For example, in performing a certain task, someone has to be in one place doing the documentation while another person has to go somewhere to deal with another component of the said project. Using sports analogies the value of team work is easily understood.
It has to be made clear that team work does not mean that team members has to lose their identity as they submit to a dominant personality. A good team leader understands that true team work is all about collaboration. A good team leader knows how to derive the best solutions based on the ideas contributed by the team.
According to Stanford University’s Graduate School for Business, “…teams encompassing at least two separate points of view on a particular question make better decisions because the pressure of the minority forces the majority to think more complexly and consider diverse evidence” (Silicon Valley Business Journal, 2004, p.1). It is also important for the leader to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each member.
A team can be made more efficient if the leader and the team members understand the importance of breaking down a particular task and distributing the responsibilities wisely to each member (Glaser, 1994, p.1). This is also known as the “clarification of roles” (Glaser, 1994, p.1). It is a strategy to prevent the duplication of work assignments.
It is also important for leaders to learn the skill of determining the level of satisfaction felt by team members. It is always helpful to find ways on how to boost the morale of the team. It does not require a genius to realize that if a team member is less frustrated then he or she can perform a better job as opposed to someone forced to do a task. It is crucial that leader must not become a dictator in order to create a high-performance team. At the same time a leader cannot be too lenient that nothing can be done.
It is indeed advantageous to work as a team. An individual hard-pressed with an impending deadline and other problems can be easily paralyzed by the job requirements. But team work offers strength in numbers that can then result in quality decisions, innovative solutions, and efficiency in the workplace.
A team can only become a team individuals are willing to work together as one. At the same time it is also important to have a good leader guiding the team and dictating the pace of the group. A good leader allows others to shine and to maximize the collective pool of talents in order to tackle a project or work assignment that could have been impossible if only one person was assigned to that job.
Cavaleri, S. (2005). Knowledge Leadership. MA: Elsevier Butterwoth-Heinemann.
Glaser, S. (1994). “Teamwork and Communication.” Management Communication Quarterly.
Silicon Valley Business Journal. (2004). “Standford: Teamwork Produces Better Decisions.” Web.
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Thierauf, R. (2001). Effective Business Intelligence Systems. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing.
West, M. (2004). Effective Teamwork. UK: Blackwell Publishing.