What are the benefits and challenges of working in a team?

In this post, we will explain the benefits and challenges of working in a team. We will also be describing the different types of teams and some of the factors that are essential for a team’s success. In addition, we will be mentioning the skills that are required for great teamwork. Through teamwork and cooperation, employees and organizations both learn and grow together.

What are the benefits and challenges of working in a team?

The benefits of teamwork are:

It promotes innovation

Teamwork encourages the generation of new ideas and leads to the creation of innovative products and designs. When team members discuss concepts with each other, they can share opinions and bring the idea to life. It also can fast-track the process and bring the idea to fulfilment.

It leads to multiple perspectives

When individuals work together in a team, multiple perspectives about the same concept or problem can be generated. There may be diverse points of view through which the issue at hand can be critically analyzed and discussed. When there are several perspectives, it also creates an opportunity to come up with several different solutions for the same problem.

It improves self-awareness and promotes personal growth

Teamwork can create an environment that promotes the learning of new skills and sharing of information. Through teamwork, individuals can learn in a more efficient manner from each other, thereby filling skill gaps. They can also learn other soft skills like communication skills and interpersonal skills, furthering their personal growth.

It can increase well-being and satisfaction levels

Most people enjoy teamwork and prefer it to individual workloads. This is as teamwork can reduce the workload and also bring positivity to the working environment. Research studies also show that employees prefer organizations that promote teamwork and collaboration and stay in them for longer periods of time.

It helps in taking calculated risks

When leaders give teams autonomy and encourage them to take risks, it can lead to bigger impacts in the organization. Risks also seem easier to take as the team members know they can rely on each other for support and help. Autonomy also boosts accountability and responsibility among the team members.

It promotes a flatter structure

Many organizations are trying to move to a flatter structure from a traditional autocratic one. Flatter structures are more beneficial for the organization in terms of cohesion, creativity and productivity.  Increasing opportunities for teamwork can help in bringing a flatter structure to the organization through effective communication and cross-functional interactions.

It increases productivity

Teamwork has also been known to improve individual productivity of employees. Working in a team means having access to information, versatile skill sets, expertise and other resources. This can be highly useful for team members, boosting their productivity and increasing their work efficiency.

It leads to better customer service

Many customers complain about the delay in response to their questions or problems. However, through teamwork, there is a better workflow across levels and sectors in the organization. Through this manner, customer service is also improved in quality. Thus, teamwork can lead to happier and more brand loyal customers.

While teamwork has its benefits, it can also bring many challenges to an organization. This happens when the right team members are not chosen for the job or they do not get the proper support from the management. The organizational policies and politics can also sometimes be the culprits. Some of the challenges that teamwork brings are:

There can be security risks

When team members work together for the purpose of a project in an organization, they have access to confidential and sensitive information. This data or info can be dangerous for the organization if leaked. Security risks and breaches can happen if team members do not know how to use tools properly or are not handed company devices to work on.

Unsuitable team members

For the right team work to happen in the organization, the suitable team members should be brought in. When team members are not complementary to each other in their working styles, it can lead to conflicts and reduces the team effectiveness. In order to boost team performance, leaders should carefully consider whom they are going to include in the group.

Lack of trust in the team

Trust is essential for teamwork and collaboration in any organization. However, trust is very difficult to build and can be quite easy to break. To build trust in a team, the leaders should first demonstrate their trustworthiness and bring about the right policies for teamwork in the organization.

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Ineffective communication

When there is no effective communication between the team members, it can lead to a drop in the team cohesion and a decrease in work efficiency. Communication skills also require the right training and development for team members to be able to practice it effectively. It is also necessary to bring about great communication in verbal, non-verbal as well as written forms.

Lingering resentments

Conflicts may occur frequently in a team. Leaders need to ensure conflicts are resolved as quickly as possible in order to avoid lingering feelings of resentment and anger. When conflicts go unresolved, this can lead to bad politics in the team and thus hamper the process of teamwork and collaboration.

Inappropriate work environment

Great teamwork requires not only the right team members on board. It also needs space and the right environment to happen. Organizations seeking to boost teamwork need to create workplaces that encourage interaction and collaboration. This can be in the form of recreation facilities, cafeterias, fitness centers, relaxation areas, etc.

Remote working

Remote working can also pose a challenge for teamwork. Many leaders have been scratching their heads over how to improve teamwork when the team members are located in different time zones. Thankfully, digital collaboration tools and social media have been found to be helpful in improving teamwork in organizations.

Different types of teams

In an organization, you can find three main types of teams. These are:

  • Project teams which collaborate only for a particular purpose or project. These teams have a formerly agreed upon start and end time. They may also include members who have a specific skill set or expertise related to the goal.
  • Cross-functional teams which involve individuals from various departments and functionalities. This can also be for a specific project and thus can have proper start and end times. Cross-functional teams are encouraged in an organization as it can lead to the breakdown of silos and improve learning and transparency of information.
  • Standing teams which are also called intact teams. These are teams that are in place and are ongoing. Standing teams take care of the management practices and the other organizational processes to ensure a smooth order of business.

Important factors for a team’s success

For a team to be successful and productive, there are many factors that need to be in place. Some of the most important factors are:

  • The team members need to be clear about the goal and also their individual roles and responsibilities
  • There needs to be strong commitment from the team members to achieve the goal
  • There should be a strategy or process in place that guides the communication, problem-solving and decision-making
  • The team members need to follow a set of values that can ensure a smoother workflow

Skills required for great teamwork

In order to improve your ability to work in a team, you need to be equipped with the following skills:

Effective communication

Effective communication is essential for teamwork and collaboration. Through effective communication, team members can be instructed and guided through the work process. Great communication skills can also lead to lesser conflicts and misunderstandings in the team. Thus, the team members face lesser disruptions and can improve their productivity.

Self-management skills

Even though teamwork requires all the team members to share the workload, there are individual roles and responsibilities. In order to fulfill these roles efficiently, an individual needs to be a self-starter. Through self-management, the team can improve its overall productivity as everyone does their part.

Ability to put the team first

In order to be a great team player you need to be able to put the team first in everything you do. While there are always personal and individual goals to fulfill, you need to understand that when the team wins, everybody wins. Since teamwork can lead to great impacts on society and can bring many positive changes, it is important to prioritize ‘we’ before ‘I’.

Active listening skills

Active listening helps team members understand each other a lot more. When an individual is actively listening to another, they are listening to understand and not just respond. Active listening requires the individual to show patience, tolerance and a lot of empathy. Through active listening, team members can understand and value each other better.

Adaptability and flexibility

Since teams and organizations are very dynamic, team members need to show adaptability and flexibility to adapt to different problems and challenges. You also need to be adaptable enough to be able work with team members who have differing working styles and personalities.

Conclusion

In this post, we have explained the benefits and challenges of working in a team. We have also described the different types of teams and some of the factors that are essential for a team’s success. Lastly, we have mentioned the skills that are required for great teamwork.

Frequently asked questions: (What are the benefits and challenges of working in a team?)

What are the biggest challenges to getting your team to a high level performance quickly?

While every team leader aspires to bring their teams to a higher level of performance, there can be many challenges along the way. Some of them are:

  • The team members may not be strongly committed to the team goal and might be self-centered instead
  • The team members have  very strong personalities and refuse to compromise and negotiate with others
  • The team members may move at different paces and thus there is a lack of team coordination

What are the challenges of being a team leader and a supervisor?

Team leaders and supervisors can face many challenges while guiding a team in their work process. These challenges may take the form of:

  • Handling the extra workload
  • Managing different personalities
  • Having to inspire and motivate the team
  • Finding the need to be positive all the time
  • Resolving conflicts among team members
  • Making tough decisions

Why is teamwork the key to success?

Through teamwork, people can get a whole lot more work done. Teamwork can also encourage creativity and innovation in the group and can greatly boost morale and productivity. It can also lead to constructive conflicts and better decision making.

If you like this post, please leave your questions and comments below.

Citations

https://www.futurelearn.com/info/courses/career-credentials-teamwork/0/steps/86207
https://bizfluent.com/info-8357494-homogeneous-vs-heterogeneous-teams.html
https://blog.jostle.me/blog/5-challenges-of-teamwork-and-how-to-overcome-them
https://startupsmagazine.co.uk/article-challenges-working-team
https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/pros-and-cons-of-group-work

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