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24.12.19

Should we go along with the majority: the peculiarities of teamwork

Do you think one man without a team could build an empire? Of course, he couldn't. Every success story involves a well-coordinated team. This means everyone striving for great accomplishments needs to know how to build, operate, and be a part of a team.

In this article, we will discuss the concept and principles of effective teamwork.
Should we go along with the majority: the peculiarities of teamwork

First, let's talk about the functions of a team. What roles does it play for the whole organization and for each individual employee?

What is the difference between teamwork and interpersonal interaction?

The very term "team" came to business from sports vocabulary. A team means a small group of three to twelve people who share a common goal or rules. Another important criterion here is an active interaction between the members.

Teamwork, respectively, refers to productive and efficient joint activities aimed at a certain result. A team, therefore, can be compared to an army that strives to defeat the enemy: in order to win, they must make a concerted effort. The common goal is the force that keeps a team together.

Characteristics of a team

The key characteristics of a team are defined as follows:

  • Collaboration. A team is not just a bunch of puzzle pieces randomly fitting together. It is a single organism that moves as a whole in one direction. It is a common goal that brings members together, not just territorial or other collectivity. In the pursuit of this goal, each member mutually supports the other.
  • Positioning. Each participant's role is not spontaneous or subject to endless changes, but a deliberate and established position within a team. This role assigns to everyone the lines of responsibility and tasks to be known to other members of a team. Teamwork, thereby, always entails interaction with regard to pre-established roles.
  • Communication. Each team member communicates openly with others, aiming for solutions rather than conflicts. Otherwise, a team disintegrates or loses the one that lacks trust and readiness to open up to the group.
  • Autonomy. A team represents an autonomous unit operating within a broader structure. While every team has its own ways of interacting with the "outside world" and other teams, no external force can influence a team's internal processes.
  • Sinergy. Team collaboration produces a specific synergistic effect. This is when the common result obtained by a group far exceeds the sum of the results of each participant if they were to do the job alone.

The above characteristics bring us to the conclusion that a team is something more than a simple interaction between people geographically close to one another. In contrast, colleagues sitting in the same office or working on the same project are not always a team.

Teamwork is the group effort of people centered around a shared task. Team management, hence, means working with an autonomous unit with its own rules and relationships.

Basic principles of a team

Most researchers identify the following principles of a team:

  • Common goal.
  • Complementary skills.
  • Strict performance requirements.
  • Mutual responsibility.
  • Relatively small size.

It has been proven that fewer members equals more efficiency. With teams of up to 5 people working faster, larger teams have more functionality. It is the roles and rules within a team that hold it together and make sure it functions effectively.

What makes a team better than cooperation?

A team has a higher efficiency compared to cooperation, which is widely used to improve the organization's overall performance. This necessitates leaders to know the basics of teamwork and team-building.

What makes a team so effective?

Every single person operates within his own limits of authority and knowledge. A team, being a mix of profiles and competencies, can come up with a non-standard idea, something that can only emerge at the junction of expertise. This, in fact, makes a team capable not only of finding the idea but also of its implementation.

Among other things, teamwork is the only way to achieve a synergistic effect. This means that a team working together produces a better effect on the company than if everyone would work on his or her own.

Besides, being a part of a team makes members less vulnerable to outside influence and therefore stronger.

With every idea being a subject of thorough discussion and comprehensive analysis, a team's final product consists of balanced decisions only. Such a detailed consideration greatly reduces the likelihood of possible errors.

The need to eliminate errors in teamwork arises from their increased visibility than when operating alone. After all, it's always harder to notice your own shortcomings.

All in all, a team is a segment that brings out the best in each employee. Team-building, therefore, appears to be the most advisable and logical course of action to take with the workforce.

The ground rules of a team

Every team must follow the rules to exist and remain a team. Let's take a look at the basic ones:

  • Freedom of opinion and expression.
  • Confidentiality.
  • Objective feedback.
  • Prohibition of using team resources outside a team, unless it harms none of its participants.
  • Proper behavior within a team.

Pros and cons of teamwork

Everything has its own advantages and disadvantages. With much attention already paid to the benefits, we still never touched on the drawbacks of teamwork. Now it's time to put the pros and cons together.

Benefits of teamwork:

  • A team can accomplish tasks that one person can't.
  • A team is a way to ensure the protection of the interests of all parties.
  • A team reduces the risk of making an incorrect or accidental decision.
  • A team minimizes the danger of overlooking important facts.
  • A team eliminates so-called "business blind spots". What one person doesn't notice, the others will surely pay attention to.
  • Teamwork-experienced employees are less likely to have problems and difficulties related to interaction with people or other divisions of the company.
  • A team strengthens collegial collaboration skills.
  • Teamwork is a qualification valuable for every employee.

But teamwork, unfortunately, doesn't come without drawbacks:

  • With the settling-in phase taking considerable time, teamwork may become a time-consuming endeavor.
  • A team gets slower with a bigger number of participants as all of them face certain difficulties with gathering at the time appointed, etc.
  • As valuable as discussions are, they are time-consuming. Communication skills and discussion techniques can improve the situation.
  • Required in teamwork, long discussions might delay the decision-making process.
  • The anonymity of results sometimes reduces the motivation to perform better.
  • Teamwork-induced activities can become a serious burden when combined with one's primary responsibilities.

It's not uncommon for a team to produce a flawed result, spend time inefficiently, or never reach a common solution. There is a well-known saying: "A camel is a horse designed by a committee". This happens, however, only if team members fail to master the skills necessary. Fortunately, the situation can be remedied with training, business games, or coaching sessions.

ManGO! Games experts can create success factors to ensure effective teamwork within your company, as well as develop training programs and business games to strengthen the team spirit. Check out our portfolio for project cases and our YouTube channel to meet our coaches.

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