When you see T.E.A.M. written as an acronym, what words come to mind? Most people I know will say Together Everyone Achieves More. You, as well? I’d like to challenge that description.
Working in teams or pods was popularized in the school system a few decades ago. Those students are now in the work force and teams are in full gear.
The benefits of working with a team are plentiful. I imagine you will add to this list but a few advantages that come to mind are that teams are great for brainstorming; the more brains, the bigger the storm! Teams also include multiple personalities, cultures, paradigms, backgrounds, and even languages so the diversity can certainty enhance the flavour. Teams can create structure and a reporting process plus balance strengths and weaknesses. Teams can build relationships that may otherwise not blossom and of course the main goal of the team is to get everyone working in the same direction towards one, shared vision.
With that robust list you might ask, “Why would I want to do anything without a team?”
Well, for starters, the list above implies, to some degree, that everyone is pulling a relatively equal amount of weight which is never the case; your team is only as good as its weakest link. Teams with diversity usually host a couple of outspoken or more dominant personalities who can undermine the cohesion of a group when quieter individuals don’t feel heard. Rarely are the tasks divided equally which means more energetic folks may feel taken advantage of. Does that create some competition within the team? Yes. Can scheduling conflicts and constant meetings and updates substantially slow processes? Yes. Here’s my biggest beef: individual decision-making abilities diminish.
Aha ~ “You cannot make progress without making decisions.” ~ Jim Rohn
I believe that always being reliant on a group, team, system or even one other to make decisions can weaken your ability to fend for yourself. It’s safe to operate inside a team but I’m a fan of team members not only being accountable to their tasks or contributions, but actually having autonomy and defined, decision-making power. That way you advance to the goal more efficiently and grow confidently. Learning to be accountable to yourself first, means you can leverage the strength of a team but not require it.
Does operating independently sound scary? We function with collective consciousness so you will never truly accomplish anything on your own but flexing those decision-making muscles is a great workout.
When we get together tomorrow – February 28th at NOON eastern – I’ll share with you a time when I made a few enemies operating as a team lead but got things done. Join here where we’ll discuss when teams can sabotage.