Teams: Love Them; Hate Them

rose thorns

People accomplish amazing feats when working in teams. They also experience intense frustration. Teams are not the end all to every organizational challenge, but they can be quite useful.

Ask people what they love about working in teams, and they will tell you…

  • Teams create energy and enthusiasm.
  • The mix of perspectives leads to new ideas.
  • When the right people are involved, the solutions they develop are more widely accepted than if created by one person.
  • Teams help people feel connected to the organization.

Others hate working on teams. They complain that…

  • The mix of opinions leads to watered-down solutions.
  • Building a consensus takes too long.
  • Petty resentments build when team members don’t do their fair share of the work.
  • You can’t be yourself because you have to “get along.”

Whether you love or hate them, see them as effective or ineffective, or think that they should always or never be used; teams are and will continue to be part of organizational life. Just as people have their individual preferences, teams have their strengths and weaknesses.

So what can you do to make teams work better for you and your organization? Here are three simple suggestions.

  • Know when and when not to use teams to accomplish work.
  • Capitalize on the advantages of teamwork.
  • Have a plan for managing and minimizing the negative aspects of teams.

Become more aware of your own feelings and skills relating to teamwork and use that knowledge to increase your personal teamwork effectiveness.

By Tom LaForce

Tom LaForce owns LaForce Teamwork Services, a Minneapolis-based consulting company. He's on a mission to create better results through teamwork. He wrote Meeting Hero: Plan and Lead Engaging, Productive Meetings.

1 comment

  1. I am anti-team for sure. Not only for the reasons you’ve cited but worst of all (in my opinion) teams kill ambition and cater to the lowest common denominator.

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