Benefits and Challenges of Team Work
Introduction Team work is defined as the process of engaging different entities or persons with diverse skills in handling of a task that requires each person’s unique skill input. Mamishev and Williams (2011, p.220) explain team work as “combination of talents from different people of diverse backgrounds to a high performing team”. As expected from the definition of team work, the process is anticipated to be a smooth ride as each person has his or her own role to play or contribute in the process. However, Mamishev and Williams (2011, p.
67) describe, mismatch in member skills often brings out challenges in carrying out goal of a team work. Nevertheless, a team is supposed to pull everybody’s resources together to achieve the members’ common goal. The process of drafting a team work includes a transition processes, action process and interpersonal process. The transition process involves identification of member’s talents, specification of goals, mission analysis and strategizing on how to achieve goals. The action process, or the process of achieving goals, involves coordination by members in laying out the project and monitoring of the members commitment in achieving the goals.
The interpersonal process is a key as it is utilized in both transition and action processes to manage rising conflict and motivation of members. At each process, the teamwork is bound to benefit or receive challenges in realizing or implementing each member’s initial goal. Benefits of Team Work The benefits of team work go in the dimension of how the team benefits as a whole and each member in the team in particular. West (2004, p.35) argues, the communication strategy, which the group chooses or uses, holds the primary role in the achievement of the benefits of the team work. Lussier and Achua (2004, p.
45) argue on the same scope as West (2004, p.33) but identify leadership as the most important tool in achieving the benefits of teamwork. Cole (2010, p.99) disagrees with West (2004, p.102), as well as Lussier and Achua (2004, p.
155) in terms of perspectives and approaches to the benefits of a team work and argue that personal motivation and perception of the team are responsible in aiding members of a team to volunteer their talents. Cole (2010, p. 115) view is based on the notion that the team member perception, motivation and liking for the team are responsible for overcoming the challenges of communication and leadership power play in a team. Mamishev and Williams (2011, p.58) identify four types of teams, and each with certain expected results is shown in Table 1.
Source: Mamishev & Williams (2011) In order to achieve the benefits and outcomes of a team, members must focus on an equitable and responsibility driven team approach. There are multiple benefits that the members are likely to gain from a team work as listed below. Pooling of energy and ideas. The foremost benefit of a team work is that the team members can pool together their diverse energies, ideas, experiences and skills. The pooling enables the members to get experience and aid in achieving their task from different angles. Lussier and Achua (2004, p.
79) identify, through proper leadership it is possible to achieve synergy, where “the team’s total output exceeds the sum of various member’s contributions”. This is possible since, through a team work, the members can achieve output beyond each individual’s capacity to handle the problem presented to the team. Each team member is given a special responsibility that matches his or her skills. Improved production. Each member in the team is given a different role to play as per relevant skills or experience.
Thanks to the specialization in the team, the level of production is expected to rise in quantity or quality. This is because the team work concentrates on overcoming challenges of production, such as hierarchy and communication. Avoided errors. The communication and collaboration platform presented in team work is vital in avoiding errors in production. This is because the team members are put on the same level of scrutinizing other member’s errors.
This is to mean the members have the same power, and each has the obligation to listen to another member idea and advice. Smooth and efficient production. Once errors are avoided at the production level, the efficiency of the team increases. On the same note, West (2004, p.162) illustrates that an equal based level of communication speeds up decision making, thus, impacting innovation and satisfaction in the project that the team is undertaking. Faster accomplishment of tasks.
A team presents an extra hand/s in tackling a problem through contribution of ideas and manpower. The higher the number of team members and level of different skills, the higher the speed at which a problem can be solved. This is because a certain problem is divided among the different level of persons and skills in the team, Motivation. Team work presents a platform for people to work smoothly with the availability of a helping hand to solve problems. This in return motivates the team members to solve their individual problems, which result in job satisfaction and interest to complete tasks allocated to them.
The team work also presents a platform for healthy competitions, which evaluates the member’s level of proficiency as per the individual present in the team. Networking. A team work is a viable platform for individuals to exchange contacts through bonding by team members. This helps the team members to interact freely with people from different backgrounds. Challenges of Team Work Teamwork challenges are defined as the obstacles or the negative aspects gained from the process of team work.Mamishev and Williams (2011, p.
23) observe the challenges, which are presented in four main chaaracteristics as shown in the table. Source: Mamishev & Williams (2011) Communication: As noted by West (2004, p.67), this is both a benefit and challenge to the existence of team work. Poor communication resulting from different level of understanding and language barriers in the diverse members can bring about the challenge of members not understanding the goals and instruction presented to them. The said members thus can bring the challenge of competition, rivalry and misunderstanding within the group.
Trust: West (2004, p.124) illustrate that trust is an important aspect that is decisive in choosing of the type of relationship between team members. This is because there are some team members who may feel that the class they belong to is superior over the other team members’ classes. On the same note, experienced team members are less likely to trust less experienced team members. This often brings discomfort in how the team members relate and scrutinize each other activities in the team.
The discomfort and lack of trust slows or halts the working of a team. Groupthink factor: Lussier and Achua (2004, p. 45) describe the group think factor as the situation whereby team members are likely to vote for a leader’s decision not on the basis of merit but because of the fear of being rejected from the group. The group thinking factor does not allow members to express their skills and rights of making decision in the team. Therefore, leaders may implement bad idea for the team thus leading the team to poor outcome. Relaxed member: Team work calls for total and equal participation by all members.
Some members may be relaxed and lazy to handle the assignments passed to them. When this happens the team project may stall or reflect bad results. On the same note, there are members who are not willing to use their skills to the uttermost for the jealousy factor of sharing skills. The members feel that if they share their skills, someone might outdo them in their career places; and thus do not share their skill as they assume the skill is a trade secret. Conclusion Teamwork is formed on the basis of sharing work and ideas, and any participating members joining the team should be ready to contribute equally and to the maximum of their capability. The sharing philosophy often leads to better ideas and efficiency of tackling a problem.
However, if the team members are haunted by sharing challenges, the team is likely to yield nothing at all. Team members must join hands in developing a sharing network to better their capabilities and resources. On the same note, team members should seek coaching before handling any project; so as to guide team members to be in their best behavior to achieve maximum benefits.