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The Benefits of Working as a Team

The Benefits Of Working As A Team

We live as individual people, and most of us pride ourselves on our individuality.

But most of us do not work in isolation, we work within groups or teams, composed of between two and 30 people. Working in teams has many benefits, which are realised only if the members of the team apply the correct principles of effective team working.

The purpose of this blog is to discover the benefits of teamwork and then to set out the correct principles of effective team working.

What are the benefits of teamwork?

In brief, the six benefits of teamwork are:

  1. Balance the load.
  2. Many hands make light work.
  3. Two minds are better than one.
  4. Nobody knows everything.
  5. Mastermind Principle.
  6. Emotional boost.

Let us look at each in turn.

1. Balance the load

At any one time, some people will be overwhelmed with the sheer volume of work, whilst others in the team will have spare capacity.

So, it seems sensible to balance the workload from people who are overwhelmed, and share it out across the whole team, which means that nobody is overstressed, and we fully actualise the team's productive potential.

2. Many hands make light work

It is clear that a large number of people can perform more work than a smaller number.

So, if the determining factor in success is related simply to the quantity of work done in a given time, then there are obvious benefits to having more hands on-deck.

When quantity is more important than quality, then the more hands the better.

3. Two minds are better than one

But whenever the Quality of the work, (rather than the quantity) is the determining factor in success, then team working means selecting a smaller number of experts to work together as a unit, in order to determine the best plans that will lead the whole team to success.

In this case, "cognitive teams" are much smaller, usually less than 7 people.

4. Nobody knows everything

The benefit of team working is that each one of us is strictly limited in our energy, knowledge and abilities, and these limitations need to be compensated for by accessing the skills, knowledge, and experience of other people.

Nobody can succeed on their own, because nobody knows enough. We all need the benefits we gain by working with other minds.

5. Mastermind principle

"The Mastermind Principle" states that the best possible results are achieved whenever people agree to work together in a spirit of harmonious cooperation for the purpose of achieving a worthwhile, valuable and moral goal. The Mastermind principle is the theoretical base of all successful teams.

6. Emotional boost

One of the most important benefits of working in a good team is the emotional boost we receive from others.

By nature, we are social beings, and whenever we feel isolated, we suffer.

When we are surrounded by our Mastermind Alliance, ( i.e. by those people with whom we share a common goal, and with whom we are working in a harmonious and collaborative way) then we feel a boost of morale because we can draw from the seemingly unlimited emotional strength, enthusiasm and motivation generated by the "team spirit".

The principles of effective team working.

In order to gain the benefits of team working, listed above, we need to employ the proper principles of effective teams, which in brief are:

  1. Clarity of purpose.
  2. Complementary skills.
  3. Joint planning.
  4. Feedback is the breakfast of champions.
  5. Positive intent.

1. Clarity of purpose

Teams are composed of people of differing ages, personalities, skills and interests. They may not even like each other. So, what unifies them?

What unifies them is a common PURPOSE, or goal.

Teams exist to achieve goals.

If there were no common goal, then the team would soon disintegrate.

Therefore, the first major factor that determines the effectiveness of team working is, "Clarity of Purpose", which acts like superglue to bond the team together and forms the starting point for all team plans and actions.

2. Complementary skills

Although the team members should share a common purpose, they should NOT have the same skills, knowledge or experience, for the same reason that no football team is composed of 11 goal keepers.

Teams require diversity of character, skills, attributes, interests, and opinion, which inevitably causes occasional conflict which must be carefully managed.

If conflicts are managed according to rational principles, then they can be the source of creativity and team strength because, when two opposing ideas clash, often a third idea is born, which may be better than either of the two originals.

3. Joint planning

The goal and the plan should be the joint effort of the "Cognitive team", and its practical application is the joint effort of the various "implementation teams". In order for the effective execution of the plan, then the "Cognitive team" should be in full consultation with the "Implementation teams".

Whenever management teams fail to communicate properly with the implementation teams, then vital feedback-information is lost, which leads to bad decisions and costly errors.

Whenever top management are in full and harmonious communication with implementation teams, then feedback-loops continually circulate vital information between them, which makes the team's success more likely.

4. Feedback is the breakfast of champions

Feedback is information that relates the results of recent actions to the original goal, and it comes in two varieties, positive and negative.

"Positive feedback" means our recent actions are, indeed, taking us forward, towards our goals, and "Negative feedback" means that they are not.

Everyone loves to hear positive feedback and practically nobody likes to hear negative.

Unsuccessful teams shy away from giving or receiving negative feedback, because they mistakenly think that negative feedback is "bad news" and should not be talked about.

Successful teams recognise the absolute need to learn from negative feedback, (i.e. setbacks, criticism and defeat) and are willing to change their behaviour whenever they find that success requires a modified action.

5. Positive intent

Although team members should have different skills, they should all share the same positive intention towards other team members. Positive intention means that we are all trying to make each other's lives better, and we do that by signing-up to the following four attitudes:

  1. Hard working. Laziness has no place in successful teams.
  2. Honest. Dishonesty is enough to sink the whole ship.
  3. Cooperative. Team success relies on cooperative spirit between its members.
  4. Friendly. Team members don't need to be friends, but it is much nicer if we are.

About the Author: Chris Farmer

Chris

Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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