At one time or another most of us are required to work with others on a project.
Everyone from children in elementary school to professionals in IT jobs know how rewarding it can be to work with others, but also how challenging, and even frustrating, it can be at times.
Advantages of Working in a Team
There are many advantages of teamwork. We’ve all heard the phrase “two heads are better than one.” Of course with more minds set on a specific goal, you have access more ideas. Looking at things from the perspective of others can increase the likelihood of quality innovation.
Teams create an environment of support and propel people toward implementation. A team environment can boost the confidence of individuals, allowing them to do their best work.
Good teams make the most of individual talents. Where one member may be weak, another might be strong and working together they provide the perfect resource for an organization. The more people work together, the more they learn and step away to become better workers in their own jobs. Teams can create better communication and respectful relationships among employees.
Disadvantages of Working in a Team
For every advantage of working in a team, there is the flip side. Just as “two heads are better than one,” we’ve all heard, “too many chefs spoil the soup.”
Basically, there are just too many people, too many ideas, and too many “experts” to come to an agreement and achieve a good result. It is simply why we have to constantly be reminded that there is “no ‘I’ in team.”
When people can’t leave their egos behind, conflict and resentment arises. People become unwilling to open their minds to other perspectives and are intent on either forcing their point of view or not cooperating with others. The more conflict, the less innovation, the farther the team gets from implementation and meeting goals.
While a team has the potential to boost up the individual members, if it is not functioning properly it can make some members feel inferior and unimportant. They contribute less and are discouraged from accessing their strong qualities. How much each person is contributing or not contributing becomes the focus of the individuals – some feeling they are carrying the team, others resenting those who are taking charge.
Relationships and communication worsens. The team is unsuccessful and the individuals walk away worse off than when they started.
What Can You Do to Ensure a Successful Team Environment?
Most of us can say we’ve experienced being on both types of teams. Here are some tips for maximizing the advantages of teamwork.
For the Manager:
If you are a manager who is forming a team you should set clear, specific expectations and have a dialogue with your employees to be certain they understand these expectations. It is important that they not only understand the goals, but also the reason the team has been created. A good manager will allow a team to function without hovering over it, but will be fully involved by eliciting information on a consistent basis, rather than waiting for the deadline to evaluate the results.
Communicate with your team, evaluate performance and commitment, and step in to assist when necessary. The team may very well need additional resources or input from you.
For the Team Member:
If you have just been assigned to a team, take the time to listen to others in the group. Be involved in the process, as there will be a process that sorts out responsibilities and leadership roles (whether official or not), but open your mind and realize teamwork takes patience, understanding, and mutual respect and support.
Yes, you want to be supported by the team, but this can only happen if you support others. The first step in being a successful team member understands your mission.
If you are given or volunteer for a particular role, understand your role and own it! Make the decision to be a problem solver. Do not look to place blame and do not focus on the negative. Stand up and make things better, rather than sitting back and complaining.
You will feel good about yourself and help the team by making it better for everyone. A negative attitude can be contagious….but so can a positive one! Constantly practice tolerance and keep communication open with all members of the team and management.
It is often a team victory we rejoice in and remember above all others. The team environment can be very rewarding and a team’s success does depend on you, the individual. Your commitment to your team, despite obstacles, is vital to its success.
Lynn Mattoon is a Content Editor and Career Writer for Beyond.com career community. You can follow her on Twitter at Beyond Careers.
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ADVANTAGES OF WORKING IN GROUPS VIS A VIS INDIVIDUALLY - A DISCUSSION.
In this essay we are going to discuss the various issues related to working in a group and working individually. The idea here will be to study the pros and cons with relation to the particular individual and not to the group of which he is a part. First we will try to understand the dynamics of a group vis a vis individual , then understand the various issues involved in working as a part of the group. We would also see as to how those issues will be influencing the person , be it in the positive side or being a hindrance.
Remember last time when you had to do your project, how did you go about doing it? You must have contemplated doing it by many ways. But some thing that comes to mind very in the beginning is either individually or in a group. Every body by de facto knows what it is to be individual and perform a task individually, as he is the only person who is doing the task. But what is group and how it is formed and what are the dynamics involved in it.
So what is a group, we may define it as a collection of several people who come together to do a particular task or goal. And the group dynamics refer to the behavioural and attitudinal characteristics of any group. Group dynamics concern how groups form , their structure and process and also deals with how it is functioning. This aspect of group dynamics is relevant in both formal and informal groups of all types. In any organisational entity groups are very common entity and hence their study and group dynamics is an important area in the study of organisational behaviour.
Being with group dynamics let us see what exactly it is about, it basically deals with why and how groups are formed and developed. In order to explain the same many theories have been proposed. One classic theory developed by George Homans , states that groups develop based on the activities , sentiments and interactions . Basically the theories professes that when individual persons share common activities , they get interactions among them ans will develop either positive or negative attitudes towards each other.
The groups can also be of various types based on how and why they are formed, that is basically we may put them in to 2 categories like Formal and informal groups. Where a formal group is formed based on the organisational requirements . It could be a command group , tasks group, or a functional groups. Where as the informal groups are formed by association of members based on their own interest or social activities. More or less the informal groups are involuntary associations.
Coming to the main issue of whether or not working in the group is going to be beneficial or not to us will be depending largely on the group structure , which is nothing but the pattern of relationships among the members tat hold the group together and help in achieving the assigned goals. The structure of the group can be defined in a variety of ways , common among them would be group size, group roles, group norms and group cohesiveness.
A group can be of any size ranging from two persons to a collection of large people ever a small groups of size 2 to 10 are considered to be more effective because each member has ample opportunity to participate and become actively involved in the group. Usually large groups involve a lot of confusion and chaos leading to waste of time in deciding which process to be done and who should be doing what next . The group size thus not only affects the group participation but also effects the satisfaction of the members.
the group roles are usually predetermined and assigned to members in case of formal groups. Where in each role will l have specific responsibilities and duties . Even though these are predetermined some times some emerging roles could also be developing naturally to meet the needs of the group. These will often replace the assigned roles as individuals begin to be more assertive and start expressing themselves.
Norms are acceptable standards of behavior within a group that are shared by the members of the group. These norms define the boundaries of acceptable and unacceptable behaviors of the group. The basic reason behind the creation of these norms is to facilitate the group survival, and to make the group behavior more predictable and also to express the values of the group. Each group establishes its own set of norms , which go on to determine anything from dress code to comments in a meeting . The group will exert pressure on the members to force them to confirm to the groups standards. The group norms usually reflect the level of commitment , motivation in a group performance.
The aspect of group cohesiveness reflects the bonding of the group members and their desire to be a part of the group. The amount of group cohesiveness is determined by a lot of factors. By normal conviction, the more difficult it is to get a group membership, the more cohesive that group is considered to be. One more reason when groups tends to get more cohesive is when they are in tense competition from other groups or may be some external threat to their own survival. The basic thumb rule is the groups which are in small size and those which spend more time together tend to be more cohesive.
The cohesiveness in work groups has many positives, like increases worker satisfaction, low turnover and absenteeism, thus leading to higher productivity. On the other hand high cohesiveness in groups at times may lead to detrimental effects also if the goals of the group are misaligns with the organisational goals. Higher cohesiveness results in to situation like group think where members of a group exert pressure on each other to arrive at a consensus in decision making. This will be resulting in careless judgements , unrealistic appraisals of alternatives, which will eventually leads a number of decision making situations like Incomplete assessments of the problem, Incomplete information search, Bias in processing information, Inadequate development of alternatives, and Failure to examine the risks of the preferred choice.
After having seen the dynamics of group, we will now understand the issues on which we are going to critically analyse the advantages and disadvantages of working in groups. The issues are like Social support, group norms, peer pressure and conflicts.
Social support is nothing but the physical and emotional comfort which is given to us by our family, friends , co -workers and others. It is all about knowing that we are all a part of the larger community of people , who care and think for us and are concerned about our well being. It is a way of categorizing the rewards of communication in a particular situations. And the critical part of this support is that unless the receiver of the support views it a support, the communicative experience or message extended to him would not be considered as support.
This social support can be understood in a variety of ways like, it may be regarded as resources provided by others , as coping assistance or an exchange of resources. Several types of social supports have been studies like instrumental, tangible, informational and emotional among others. The aspects of health and well being are not merely the result of actual support provision, but are also a consequence of participating in a meaningful social context.
by peer pressure it refers to the influence or pressure exerted by a peer group in encouraging an individual in changing ones attitudes, values or behavior so that he or she confirms to the group norms .the social groups influenced by the peers include formal groups like political party , trade union or informal groups like a social clique. How ever a person who is affected by the peer pressure may or may not wish to continue with the group. This would also help persons in finding out if they really belong to the group , which would lead to adverse affects of the groups behavior.
A Conflict is an actual or perceived opposition of needs, or values and interests. A conflict can be internal to individuals or could be between individual and groups or among groups. Conflict as a concept can help explain many aspects of social life such as disagreement of social nature, conflicts of interests, and fights between individuals, groups, or organisations. to put in political terms , "conflict" can refer to wars, revolutions or other struggles, which may involve the use of force as in the term armed conflict.
Conflict in the view of academical interest is often narrated as a means of resolving conflict, which can be win-win, where both parties get what they want, win-lose where one party gets what they want, or lose-lose where both parties don't get what they want. So academically we can define conflict as "when two or more parties, with perceived incompatible goals, seek to undermine each other's goal-seeking capability".
We can say that the genesis of the conflict can be a clash of interests, values directions or actions . These conflicts indicates the existence of clash psychologically. "( A conflict exists when the reduction of one motivating stimulus involves an increase in another, so that a new adjustment is demanded.)" Even when we say that there is a potential conflict we are implying that there is already a conflict of direction even though a clash may not yet have manifested.
The term was coined in 1955 by Henry A. Landsberger while he was analysing older experiments from 1924-1932 at the Hawthorne Works (A Western Electric factory outside Chicago). Hawthorne Works had commissioned a study to observe the efficiency of the workers under various stimuli both external and internal. Which included physical working environment and also group structures. Light was one such factor on which the effects were studied. if the workers would become more productive in higher or lower levels of light. The workers' productivity has improved when changes were made and slumped when the study was concluded. It was observed that the gain in productivity is more due to the fact that they are being observed rather than the actual experiment itself.
This Hawthorne effect is a form of reactivity where in subjects improve an aspect of their behaviour by being experimentally measured simply in response to the fact that they are being studied, not in response to any particular experimental manipulation.
Advantages And Disadvantages
Having studied the various theoretical aspects on which we are going to critically analyse the advantages and disadvantages, we will now enlist the various experiences both personal and compiled from others'. The advantages and disadvantages of working in groups against to individual.
Both the choices whether group or individual has its advantages and disadvantages. An introvert that iam , working alone is more beneficail to me
It is admitted that , working in groups has many benefits. With our partners, the project can be finished quicker. For example, when I was studying in university my task was on wars of world So we have divided the topic into several parts such as wars in ancient, wars in modern,.. then each of the group was assigned one part. In that way, we could finish it quickly and more efficiently. Further when working in a group, you also have a chance to express your ideas and have the comment from others. This is a good way to improve our presentation skills and knowledge too.
On the other hand Working individually also has some different kinds of advantages . The first major advantage is that it makes you more independent. When working alone , we have to solve our work all alone . Like solving our assignment, which we do on our own and not rely on any others. . You can always do the way you want to do it in your own methods. This would not only give us the freedom in choosing our own methods of doing things in the way we want but also gives us the confidence to make our own decisions, based on our experience and expertise on our work.. Moreover, we can manage our time better when we work by ourself. You can do your work any time, which is best for you and you also don't have to depend on others to have only an agreement.
From my experiences of working individually and also as a part of the groups, working individual always gave me success. As I am an introverted person, I sometimes had complex about myself, especially when I worked with others. But when I had to do my final project in university, I did many experiments in lab by myself and realized that I could do my work much better than I had thought when I worked as a part of groups. This has gave a sense of confidence about my knowledge. Working alone has given me a chance to discover my own ability and many experiences to solve problems which are not just a part of my research projects, but also in solving my personal life issues.
As I have been mentioning at the beginning, working alone or working in a group, each gives its own advantages. We can always choose which ever is suitable for us but for me I have found out that working individually has been more beneficial , which has improved my own ability and also improved my ability and success more and more.
However choosing which way to work - individually or in a group depends on the type and nature of the job involved and the personality of the individual.
Now let us see how working in a group can enrich you individually as a person, while still being a part of the group.
Just as hey say, many hands make light work. The essence of this statement is that we can achieve more as a collection of individuals rather than individually. There are numerous benefits of working as a part of the team, some of them can be stated as below
Every body is born with a different skill sets, knowledge and personal attributes. Making use of all these different aspects in a team , we can generate more ideas. As more ideas are generated, more creative solutions are generated, which will help us in enriching our knowledge and may be use them for our future requirements.
Individuals working together as a team to achieve a common goal are continually developing. As they keep interacting more, energy and enthusiasm is created. This energy when utilized produces results which positively impacts motivation thus leading to more success
Even the best qualified individual cannot have all of the skills to do everything. "(Some people are good at giving new ideas. And some are good at executing the plans. The key point is that when a team works together, it has a huge range of skills available that it can utilize and we enrich ourselves with such skills
Imagine that you have a project that needs research, pulling together a proposition, financing it, implementing it and delivering specific benefits. If the same task were to be performed by an individual it would take months to finish. By splitting up the project, work can move forward in parallel and thus the ultimate goal is achieved faster. As an individual we learn to plan things better and to coordinate towards the goal.
It is amazing the amount of camaraderie that is created in teams, especially when the going gets tough. When we are working alone it is difficult to get a feedback of our own work as , we doesn't know if we are making any mistakes, or is there a better way of doing things , are we able to complete the things as per schedule.
Two heads think better than one: This one is obvious but easy to forget. Yes, we do loose some creative say in the specific direction you want to go, but you do get to double the ideas and together you can choose the best ones and discard the crappy ones that, alone, you might have thought,
Now you have more people doing the work. This might mean that there is more work to be done but when you do along with another it does help If one of you gets fatigue or goes on vacation, it's much easier to arrange ways to keep the project going without having to work so much ahead of time
Meanwhile, work in a team also has small disadvantages, usually hard to see them in our everyday work.
When working in a team there will not be any individual losers or winners. Though on the face of it no losers looks like an advantage. It has got its disadvantages too, for no one can be blamed or no one can feel good of having achieved some thing like success . When we have situations where the group consists of only leaders then their team might just not work at all.
The worst thing is that the people who are not of a leader type they may be pushed aside by the other members of the team. Leaders would be concentrated on achieving the goal and won't care about helping other team members and socializing with them and won't become a good team.
The question of which one has more advantages is only of academic interest as ultimately , the result depends on what is best suited of the type of job and the persons nature and level of skill and the type of skills required along with the all other constraints like time, money and resources available at your hand. Given that you have all the knowledge of above things, we would be able to make a decision which one works better for which.
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