Teamwork or Working Independently – Which is Better?
Let’s address the question right way. Which is better, either teamwork or working independently? It isn’t a matter of which of the two is “better”. It’s likely just a matter of personal style and personality. Or is it?
In the following article, we will make the case for working in teams versus working solo.
A Matter of Organizational Culture
Sometimes, whether a project should be done by a single individual or taken on by a team will depend on the organizational culture.
Organizations may want to form self-sufficient teams that work collaboratively simply because it is an integral part of their organizational culture. Collaborative teams can be more effective and produce more work than an individual working alone. Team members may have different strengths and weaknesses that are complimentary. There are surely many pros to working in a team.
Nevertheless, in many corporate cultures, employees take pride in their solo endeavours. Proving that you can achieve goals on your own can be rewarding. An organization that wants to form technical experts might distribute more individual assignments than group work.
Indeed, individual assignments can be a great way to evaluate a person’s time management skills, professionalism and rigour. In a group, all responsibility and all merit are shared. It may become difficult to assess the progression of an individual if all projects and assignments are collaborative.
Hence, if management is absolutely set on teamwork, they should provide the proper tools to do so. They should also create guidelines for collaborative work and collect feedback from their teams.
In short, it would be interesting to ask HR whether they prioritize teamwork or working independently. It might speak volumes about your organization.
A Matter of Personality and Preference
We all know about the Myers-Briggs personality test. The first spectrum of this famous quiz classifies people along the axis of extraversion and introversion. Do extroverts necessarily prefer to work in teams? Do introverts simply refuse to collaborate?
Things aren’t so black and white, of course.
Studies have found that the main difference between the two drastically different personality types is this: introverts refuel by spending time alone. On the other hand, extroverts don’t need as much alone time. In terms teamwork, this could mean that an introvert could be an excellent collaborator, once he or she has had the proper amount of time to “recharge”.
Therefore, when it comes to the question teamwork or working independently, your personally type will not define your preferred method of interaction. It simply defines how you like to recharge your social batteries.
Overall, no matter where you are on the extraversion-introversion spectrum, you have the ability to be an excellent teammate.
A Matter of Teams Being Problematic
Sure. Working alone means being sole accountable for absolutely everything.
Yet, working in a team means making small talk, keeping track of different schedules, vacations, sick days, etc. It’s a lot of extra work.
For every problem, there is a solution. There are online team communication solutions, such as the ever-growing and popular Slack. There are task management sites and applications such as Monday or Trello. Some even have trial offers or completely free solutions for small teams.
A recurring concern, particularly for remote teams, is leave planning and tracking. When working in a team, make sure you have an effective leave planning system. This system should facilitate your team’s communications about any absences or upcoming leaves.
Vacation Tracker offers a Slack-integrated leave management tool that is easy to use. It is perfect for teams in the same office, but works great for remote teams too. This user-friendly software lets team members manage leave requests and lets everyone receive vacation or absence reminder directly in Slack.
Vacation Tracker offers a free 14-day trial, with absolutely no string attached.
Teamwork or Working Independently: the Verdict
In short, it isn’t a question of whether teamwork or working independently is “better”. There can be good and bad reasons for working in teams. There can also be good and bad ways to work in teams. On the other hand, working on a project alone also has its disadvantages.
Organizations may want to form self-sufficient teams that work collaboratively simply because it is an integral part of their organizational culture. Yet, some people might think that personality influences the ability to work in a team. Of course, some people might avoid working in teams altogether because of the headaches that come with it. All of these issues and reasons are valid.
Overall, the answer to the dilemma of teamwork or working independently is: it depends. However, one this is for sure: teamwork should not cause headaches. There are great solutions and some awesome software out there that simplify working in teams. Discover a few new tools to improve working in a team, and check out our other helpful blog posts.