Do you know that expression that talks about seeing “both sides of the same coin”? You don’t? Really? Have you been raised by wolves?

As we leave our readers more clueless while reading the Dictionary of Idioms, the rest of you should know that although teamwork is a very much desirable practice, it is not exempt of drawbacks. That is why, and for you not be caught by surprise, today we will see some advantages and disadvantages of teamwork in companies.

Advantages of teamwork

It is always better to start with the good news. Even though there are drawbacks that we will see later, teamwork has multiple virtues that make it a habit to adopt in almost any company. Let’s look at some.

Increases productivity

Whichever way you look at it, well applied, teamwork is a pump to raise the team’s performance to notably. Teamwork allows you to distribute tasks so that each person takes care of the tasks for which he or she is better qualified. In addition, it will be easier to avoid work duplication, which will save time. And we leave for the end the most important thing: by sharing tasks and spaces, ideas flow and creativity soars, which increases performance beyond the individual capacities of each person.

It is more pleasant

Although there are people who prefer working alone, human beings like to share their experiences with others, and that is evident. Teamwork can provide extra energy at low times. Also, on an emotional level, feeling accompanied is more satisfying than working alone. All of this could have repercussions on important factors, such as absenteeism or job rotation.

Increases motivation

Feeling part of a team is a spur to motivation. Sharing successes means having extra fuel for the day to day; doing the same thing with failures helps them to better deal with them and to seek joint solutions to overcome them and prevent them from recurring. Knowing that you have close support and that you work for a common purpose will make the team reach farther than a single person would.

Provides more learning opportunities

The people who form a team will have diverse backgrounds, ways of being, training and all kinds of different professional and life experiences, which will be a continuous opportunity to continue learning things. Teamwork can enrich people both professionally and on a personal level, and that is priceless.

Facilitates organization

Planning and organizing for a group is easier than doing so for individuals. Both communication and resource allocation will be easier to do if we target a few teams than targeting a large number of individuals. All this should improve, in addition, the coordination of all the people/teams that are part of the company.

Disadvantages of teamwork

And now we go with what’s not so beautiful. Although well-conducted teamwork can offer great satisfaction, it won’t always be easy to get things going like they should. Within the group, conflicts can arise or generate time waste and energy loss that might end up causing that each one leaves the way they came. Let’s look at some possible problems.

The group can be divided into subgroups

This one’s a classic. Sometimes, as soon as a problem arises, the group will split. On other occasions, it will be the previous division that will generate the conflicts. Usually, the subgroups will be formed based on personal affinities and will cause some people to end up defending ideas or positions based on such sympathies and not based on professional criteria. Failing to remedy this can lead not only to a decline in performance, but also to a breakdown of the team as a whole. To avoid this, it is advisable to encourage interaction among all members of the group and be clear that a divided team will be weaker.

Someone can try to impose their judgment

Although teamwork should be guided by a leader, this should not be confused with imposing one criterion above that of others. Whether it is the boss or someone else who takes the initiative, all opinions must be respected and taken into account. Otherwise, we will lose the opportunity to take advantage of some good ideas, and we will be sowing the seeds for discord …

The team could waste too much time

For the group to feel motivated, it is desirable that all of its members – or at least most of them – agree with the decisions that the team makes, and sometimes that won’t be easy and will involve investing a great deal of time in reaching a common position. At other times, being in a group can generate distractions if the conversations are directed towards personal issues or matters that have nothing to do with the work that has to be carried out. You have to be careful with these kind of situations or else the results of the work will suffer.

Performance can decrease

Especially when the groups are too large, there is this phenomenon in which some of the people who are in the team will work less than they would individually, hoping that the rest of the group will compensate for their reluctance. To avoid this kind of situation, it will be necessary to involve all the members of the group and to control that everyone is putting their grain of sand in order for the work to go forward effectively.

Some people can cause problems

Teamwork is not for everyone. Some people even see it as proper, complete torture; they won’t feel comfortable and will cause problems continuously. Don’t force them to do it. Look for other solutions, such as allowing them to be more autonomous in their work.

As you can see, even hough teamwork is, in theory, a good thing, it must be put into practice in such a way that it doesn‘t end up causing more harm than good. To finish, and while you put your head to think how to make your teamwork go smooth, we leave you with a sentence for you to reflect on:

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go accompanied “– African Proverb.