Remember teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.
- Patrick Lencioni
Remember those projects we had to complete in school? How we asked our friends to come help us? Or how we made sure everyone in the house approved of what we've done? Didn't these projects turn out to be better, always? Yes, there would be times when we would get upset because our suggestions seemed stupid in front of somebody else's. Then, there would also be times when we would think we were better off doing this alone. Remembering these situations will give you a little idea about several advantages and disadvantages of working in groups. The benefits, and the drawbacks of group decisions are in a way debatable. In this article, we will get a little closer to this debate. While there are some bad aspects in the idea of 'group work', there is more good to look at. More about working together in groups and teams, ahead.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Teamwork
The first and the most important advantage of group work, is that it increases total productivity. You can use the best skills an employee possess, and ensure quality output. Using these skills makes sure there is no compromise on quality of productivity while working in a group.
The more members you have in a group, the more resources you have at the end of the day. This means you can meet more ends with these resources. As the number of people increase, overall skills of the team also increase. Along with these skills, experience of each new member gets added to that of the team.
Projects are safer with teams than with individuals. If a few of the members are absent or not coming to work, the rest can still finish the project. Groups can develop more options with combined thinking. Also, discussion ensures low-quality options/suggestions are dropped at the start. In the end, you are more in profit if you work in a group.
When you work alone, you are automatically biased towards someone or something. You are human and this is bound to happen from the best of managers. However, when you work in group, you reduce that bias considerably. While working in a group, you need to tell everyone why you are taking a particular decision. Once you discuss a particular decision with your group, their approval is important so that you can go ahead with execution.
No Freedom for Individual Thinking
One of the greatest drawbacks of working in a team is that there is no freedom with individual thought. How much ever you prove your point and the rationality of its application, it won't be agreed upon if rest of the team disagrees with it. Every action of yours needs approval, that too in majority. This becomes a bit time-consuming and chaotic. Another problem is that working in a group is bound to give rise to 'groupism', which might add negativity in the workplace and hamper quality of work.
Another important mention in all these advantages and disadvantages of working in groups is the amount of time needed to evaluate all the members of the group. If the output is as it was requested, managers tend to leave it at that and don't look into details. Whether someone as worked a lot or worked really less, goes unnoticed. However, at such times, they don't realize that some employees have hardly put in any effort and some have done maximum work. There are many escape routes while working in a group. Judging individual productivity thus, becomes very difficult.
Possibility of Unequal Credit
When you work in a group and achieve more than the productivity required, you are bound to get some rewards. Sometimes, these rewards are equal for all while at times, they aren't. Suppose there is only one promotion available, who will get it? It is very difficult to measure the work done by every employee in comparison to others. This means that the possibility of unequal credit cannot be denied. Increments will vary for everyone in the group and this might add to the inequality. If 'A' has done 10 things and 'B' has done 100, B will be rewarded more in normal circumstances. Very few will take the efforts and check who has actually given more revenue.
Incorrect Competitive Attitude
While working in a group, many people develop a competitive attitude or approach towards their work. They are constantly trying to work 'more' than the others. What they should actually focus on is working 'better' than the others. This kind of attitude reduces the quality in the overall productivity and thus the objective of working as a team is lost. If you work in a creative field, this attitude will reduce the creativity to a great extent. Losing the focus is easy when all you are worried about is winning the race. Instead of competing with other groups members, people should compete with their own self to give a better output as an individual, and eventually as a team.
These were all the advantages and disadvantages of working in groups that one has to tackle effectively to ensure a healthy environment in the workplace. The benefits of working in groups undoubtedly weigh more than the disadvantages of group working. You need to focus more on the advantages to gain maximum quality output, and that too efficiently. Thus, working together in groups and teams is more beneficial for a project, and in the larger picture, for the company.