What Are the Pros & Cons in Teamwork?

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What Are the Pros & Cons in Teamwork?
Teams can be empowering and constricting. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

A small number of people working as a team can accomplish more than the same people working individually so long as everyone on the team knows how to cooperate and to compromise with other team members. Effective teamwork involves maximising the strengths of a team and communicating to minimise the drawbacks.

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Pro: Synergy

Synergy is a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Synergy in teamwork is the result of working together and achieving results that couldn't be achieved by any single member of the team. Because every individual has strengths and weaknesses, working alone can be difficult at times. In a team that is comprised of the right people, one person's weaknesses are compensated for by another person's strengths. The result is a synergistic accomplishment of goals that is not only greater than any single team member, but also greater than the total work of the same people if they were each working alone.

Pro: Trust

Trust is a benefit of a functional and effective team. As people become accustomed to working together, they become more comfortable with delegating responsibilities to someone else and letting go of complete control. This level of trust is productive on a personal as well as a professional level and can lead to interpersonal relationships that are more open and relaxed. When all the members of a team trust each other, for example, to get tasks completed on time and to do what they say they will do, productivity increases and stress decreases in the workplace.

Con: Conflict

Not all teams work in an ideal manner all the time. Because individuals often have different ideas about how tasks should be accomplished, there is always the possibility of interpersonal conflict arising when working in a team. People who are used to working alone may find it difficult to adjust to the responsibilities and restrictions that are involved in being part of a team and may find themselves in conflict with other team members as they attempt to maintain control over their own activities. For some people, the benefits of teamwork will not outweigh the loss of autonomy that is necessary to be part of a team.

Con: Passing the Buck

When someone is working alone, he is aware that if he doesn't do something it isn't going to get done. There is no possibility of passing the buck or waiting for someone else to take care of things. In a team, individuals who are lazy or unmotivated may not pull their share of the weight, preferring to wait for someone else to pick up their slack. This is a drawback of the team structure and highlights the fact that the success of a team is largely dependent on the character and motivation of its individual members.

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