Published 05 Aug 2017
Sometimes, the job gets done at a faster pace when a team is assigned to it. Working in a team generates faster results than if we work alone. However, we have to take note that not all teams succeed in their objectives. Success of a team depends upon many factors. This paper will look into the advantages and disadvantages of working in a team, the processes, and some important things to consider.
Working in a team is better than working alone because there are many ideas that we can get from each team member. Team work also facilitates equal sharing of responsibilities, and each member is expected to do his part of the job. Moreover, tasks are done quickly, changes can be made easily and teamwork provides flexibility to the company. Since members are involved and communicate with each other, decision-making will be easier and more efficient. West, Borril and Unsworth (1998) stated that an efficient team brings consistency in organizational environment.
However, there are also disadvantages in a team model. These are poor coordination and communication between the members, competing objectives (West, et al., 1998), hidden agendas, cultural clashes, conflicting personalities, unwillingness to help, and unclear goals and responsibilities (Lemmex, n.d.).
There are four processes for group development in a team, namely forming, storming, norming and performing. This model was developed by Bruce Tuckman in 1965. This has become a basis in knowing whether a team develops.
Forming is the first stage of team building. During this stage, team members meet up, introduce each other, learn about the challenges and opportunities, and agree on the set goals. Then they tackle the tasks. In this stage, the members behave independently. Although they are motivated, they are usually unaware of the issues and objectives of the team. The teams’ supervisors must be directive at this stage.
If the members are confident, the team will likely enter the second stage, which is the storming. During this stage, the team deals with the ideas or issues, such as the problems that they must tackle, how they will function and what leadership model to accept. Usually, team members disclose with each other and confront their conflicting ideas. Sometimes, a team may find difficulty leaving this stage. The storming stage is unpleasant and even painful for those who are not willing to resolve conflicts. The team may fall apart if the members do not know how to listen, or to understand the conflict and find ways to move forward (The Teal Trust, n.d.). But this stage is important for the growth of the team and of its members as this facilitates tolerance and patience in resolving the conflict.
Once the team comes out of the storming stage with an agreed method of operating, it will enter the norming stage. This stage is characterized by team members adjusting with each other so that the teamwork if smooth. The members agree on professional behaviour, rules, working tools and values. There is cooperation and collaboration and members trust each other. As members get more familiar with the project, they will be motivated (The Teal Trust, n.d.).
Performing is the final stage of team building, which focuses on achieving the goals and objectives of the team. At this stage, members will likely be loyal to each other and understand the importance of managing more difficult tasks. They are also interdependent and knowledgeable, autonomous, competent, and motivated (The Teal Trust, n.d.).
A team is said to be effective if it meets its goals and objectives. But meeting the objectives is not an easy task, as sometimes members are faced by conflicting opinions and ideas on how to meet their objectives. There are ways that the team can do to meet its goals. First, communication should be clear within the members, and they must also know the goals and their roles and responsibilities in achieving them. In case of conflicts, the team must apply a conflict resolution process. It is also important for each member to participate willingly and must be committed in achieving the team’s goals and objectives (Lemmex, n.d.).
Equal contribution is necessary in teamwork. Members are important in a team, thus they should provide equal contribution. Every contribution will help the team in making decisions and meeting its objectives. Moreover, different persons have different ideas, and sometimes this is just what the team needs in order to choose the best action. Samar (2002) commented that team members must work together from the beginning to the end.
Although members work together to be more effective, it is not necessary to carry a member at all times. It is required for every member to share with others the tasks assigned so that objectives are met and the decision making process is efficient. But this is not to say that a team should not carry a member as there will be special circumstances when a team has to carry a member.
It is important for a manager to understand that there are teams where some members do not contribute as he should have. Sometimes, the case is members contribute but not equally. The manager should make it clear at the start about the duties and expectations for each member. He should motivate the members by being an example. He should also communicate with the members that a team can be successful if every member gets involved until the end of a project.
Of course, working in a team is not all about ease and happiness. Teams are faced with difficulties and obstacles that may seem to be hard to overcome. But once we recognize these obstacles and we believe that we can overcome them through our efforts, it will be easier for us. It is always important for the team to work together and brainstorm on how to deal with the hindrances. It is also important for the members to share ideas on how they can help to solve the problem. This way a team emerges successful.
- Lemmex, Steve. (n.d.). Communication breakdown and conflict within teams. Expert Reference Series.
- Samar, Edgar. (2002). Team work and team building: How to work as a team. Retrieved on December 19, 2007
- The Teal Trust. (.d.). Team process. Retrieved on December 19, 2007 from http://www.teal.org.uk/et/teampro.htm
- West, M.A., Borrill, C. S. & Unsworth, K. L. (1998) Team effectiveness in organizations. Sheffield, England.