You aren’t alone if you prefer working by yourself, doing things your way, in your time, at your own pace. When you’re left alone to get a job done, you don’t have to deal with the personalities and the clashes that are sometimes created by a group. But you’ve got to face it -- team-building and group workplaces are here to stay. You’ll get along much better if you accept that fact and look on the bright side; there are benefits to working in groups that may actually make your job a little easier.
A whole lot more can usually get done in a shorter period of time when you work with a group. Division of labor and specialization are good ways to increase efficiency and productivity. Breaking up the tasks among the team members allows everyone to do her best at full capacity without being bogged down and distracted by other aspects of the project. Each member of the group contributes to the whole. This beats the alternative of one person balancing a variety of duties and struggling to accomplish any one thing well.
At every job, you’re going to run into people who do the bare minimum and who are able to get away with it because no one’s watching. There are also people who work tirelessly and don't get the credit they deserve. Working in a group creates accountability, because the success of the group depends on the active participation of each member. It’ll be much more difficult for a group member to slip under the radar without doing her share, since everyone in the group will notice and call her out on her slackness. The group shares successes and failures, so there is motivation to hold every team member accountable for the work she's assigned and for pulling her weight.
Group work can take some of the stress off, especially when you’re overwhelmed by all the work you’re expected to complete. Since the responsibility for success falls on the whole group, you can chill a little because no one person has to worry about being responsible for the success or failure of the whole project. The balance and collaboration in the group gives you the freedom to ask for help, share resources and bring problems to the group to brainstorm for solutions. The group itself becomes a tool that allows members to play to their strengths, preventing any one member from having to take on more than she can handle.
Checks and Balances
Groups tend to have the built-in function of being able to recognize and correct errors on the spot. For example, one person writing and editing a paper may skim over or not recognize gaping holes and errors. These same mistakes are a lot less likely to sneak by a group of five people. Group settings can be an effective counterbalance to personal bias, since objectivity can be more closely approached from multiple perspectives. Creativity and practical application are also amplified by collaboration and building on ideas together, since members can add to or temper ideas with their own perspectives and experiences.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."