Teamwork does not come without challenges. I addressed some of these challenges in a recent post (Removing the “I’s” from Your Team).
Teamwork also comes with significant benefits. Here is a quick overview of some of the core benefits I’ve observed in team practice and research.
1. Better Ideas and Increased Insight
You’ve likely heard the proverb, “two minds are better than one.” Such proverbial wisdom points to a key benefit of working in teams. Teams provide a context for idea generation. Teams provide a context for increased insight regarding complex problem solving. Teams provide a place for multiple perspectives to emerge. Teams provide a context for increased creativity as members bounce ideas off of one another. And teams provide a context for more ideas to be generated, which generally leads to better ideas being generated so long as group think is proactively addressed.
2. Increased Courage to Face Challenges
Being alone can be a challenge for some in times of calm, but it can be a major challenge when problems hit. Teams provide a context for facing problems together. Teams provide a context for esprit de corps and feeling that we are in this together. Teams provide a context for the collective group to take bigger risks than individuals. When we are in it together, there is a courage that is infused into the group that many individuals do not experience in isolation. Together, teams are able to face challenges that feel too big for any one individual.
3. The Presence of Peer Support
Because teamwork is done with others, it provides the opportunity for increased peer support. Teams provide a context for improved morale. Teams provide a context for mutual encouragement. Teams provide a context for mutual accountability. Teams provide a context for support, both personal and professional. Teams provide a context for collaboration in working toward task-accomplishment.
4. A Context for Mentoring and Training
Finally, though not exhaustively, teams provide an unique opportunity for organizations to develop younger or newer talent. Teams provide an organic context for leadership development. Teams provide a natural context for modeling preferred organizational behavior. Teams provide a context for either formal or informal mentoring. Rather than providing leadership development and mentoring as a side program, teams provide a natural environment in which emerging team members and leaders can observe and interact with tenured team member and leaders. Teams provide a context for members to be valued, developed, and and released as contributors.
The author of Ecclesiastes reminds us of the value of laboring with others.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor….
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.“
– Ecclesiastes 4:9, 12
Though not exhaustive, both Ecclesiastes and the four benefits noted above point us to the benefits that teams provide. What additional benefits have you found in your work with teams?