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Working in diverse teams
Working in diverse teams

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5.1 Advantages of teamwork

Studies have repeatedly shown that the quality of decisions and level of creativity coming from teamwork is substantially better than from your average individual working alone. In the words of Helen Keller:

Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.

Keller, cited in Adams (2018)

Listen to Rebecca Fielding from Gradconsult talking about the advantages of working in teams.

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Activity 6 Assessing your personal experience

Timing: Allow about 20 minutes

Reflecting on your own experience of working in a team and the words of Rebecca Fielding, what do you feel are the main advantages of teamwork both for the individual and for the employer? Look at the eight benefits of teamwork below and think about which benefits stand out most for you.

Eight benefits of teamwork

  1. Shared creativity can come up with better ideas

    When people bounce ideas off each other, then new ideas can be formed. A group working well together will be more creative than any individual working alone.

  1. Can draw on people’s different strengths and perspectives

    Everyone has different skills and also diversity of experience and background. A team working well is able to draw on all of the different skills in the team and explore things from a perspective that may not be their own but may be shared by their customers.

  1. People can learn something from others in the team

    The whole team functions better individually by the shared learning through the teamwork experience. Each time a new way of doing things is shared, then you learn a different way to work. Teamwork fosters learning in an organisation.

  1. More people share in the achievement when the team goal is reached

    Creating work together can be more fulfilling and make individuals feel more connected to the company goals. Individuals can see how their contribution works as part of a bigger picture and feel pride in what they do.

  1. Shared risk in decision making

    Alone individuals may not want to raise their head above the parapet and take a risk on an untried idea but in a group where consensus is reached there may be a willingness to share ‘out of the box’ thinking and try something new. It is here that real innovation can happen.

  1. Others can keep help motivation or provide support in a difficult task or when someone is weak

    If a project needs to be delivered on time then there is more chance of this if responsibility is shared. If one member of the team becomes sick then others can step in to help out. If one bit of the task is particularly difficult then the support of other team members can keep you trying.

  1. Faster speed of getting task completed

    The saying goes ‘many hands make light work’. In a team, people are able to play to their strengths in the task allocation and so do not waste time and energy performing parts of the task at which they do not excel.

  1. Potential of greater acceptance of team decisions

    If the group has come to a consensus regarding the way forward, the chances are that there will be more people who support this idea. This can be particularly helpful for managing change.

Now use this space to note down those most meaningful to you and then add any other benefits which you feel are not reflected here.

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Next you will think about the different types of team you may encounter in the workplace.