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Individual Versus Team Tasks And What Teams Need From You

Despite the workplace's emphasis on teamwork, certain tasks are best done alone

“Teams, teams, teams” has been the mantra since the early nineties when the literature on teams exploded. Everyone needed to be part of a team. To most people working in organizations, the reflex is to refer to one’s ‘team’ when discussing work issues. What’s happened is that the use of the word team has greatly diluted what teamwork is really about. And along the way, the cult of teamwork has created skepticism and mistrust–and even guilt–among employees.

Before you conclude that I’m anti-teamwork, I’ll point out that in addition to spending many years being part of a variety of teams I also designed and delivered dozens of team-building workshops. My purpose in this post is to rock the teamwork boat and challenge the conventional wisdom that has emerged over the years. My ultimate aim is to widen your perspective on what constitutes teamwork, that it’s okay to enjoy working independently, and that “teamwork” in reality encompasses a broad range of ways in which people come together to accomplish specific objectives. 

My own experiences in being a part of teams and various assortments of work groups extends back almost 40 years when I first entered the labor market in the late 1970s. When teams became the method of choice for how work should be organized in the early nineties, it was nothing particularly new to me since that was how I had been working for several years in a service branch. However, I recall quite clearly the stress that some of my co-workers in other parts of my organization underwent. On the surface they were all for teams, the message they wished to be heard saying publicly.

Please select this link to read the complete blog post from Changing Winds.

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