Is Team Work Always Productive Or Can It Be Unproductive As Well?

The actual intent of completion of certain task like a team is accomplishing it successfully. Generally teams can be very productive. They can address issues and solve problems better and faster. They include diverse opinions that naturally make for more robust solutions. They also lay the groundwork for inclusion and buy-in if not consensus. The effectiveness of team work totally depends on a good team leader and his leadership qualities. The leader must have a vision and share it with the team. He/she has to be able to prevent, recognize and take corrective actions to minimize the bottlenecks without being too forceful or commanding. The leader must be able to keep the team on task and at the same time enable open discussion and occasionally allow for the team to drift off track. What is required is “Have a goal àShare the goal àAgree upon the goal.”

What does ‘productive’ mean? Non-direct result related work could be recognized as ‘unproductive’ but the contrary might be the case: working in a team requires ‘to know each other’ and to ‘trust each other’; the process to come to that stage is still productive.

It is the responsibility of a project manager to keep the team stable and result oriented. To get rid of any disruptive activity of his team members and to get new ones on board. This is called team management.

Some instances in which teamwork can be unproductive:

  • Teamwork can be unproductive if you have team members whose personalities conflict instead of complimenting one another. In case of too many leaders, all want to lead in different directions.
  • Teamwork can breakdown if the team loses sight of the goal, or if it was never clear to begin with.
  • It can also breakdown if the team members do not trust each other to act in the best interest of the team.
  • A lack of communication and organization can negatively affect team productivity. If roles and responsibilities are not well defined and communicated, there may be overlap (two or more people working on the same aspect of the work without knowing that they are all working on the same thing) or gaps (some aspects of the work may fall through the cracks because no one realizes that no one is working on them).

At the start of a Project it is necessary to believe that team work is productive. However during the Project there are various examples that shows that different interests can change that. If you have very skilled developers they can have problems to “stop” develop within time/budget since it’s so “fun” or “important” to continue. There can be conflicts between subcultures, especially when you have members from different parts of an organization. Basically by nature, teamwork is supposed to be productive. If it is not productive in a project environment, then it is the responsibility of the project manager to change that. As it is said “change your people or change your processes”

It is productive when the goal of the team is clearly communicated, responsibilities are shared and an accountability plan is in place (supported by the buy-in and contributions of all members). However, if any one of the areas called out is not functioning well, the team’s productivity will suffer.

Team work can be unproductive if the team does not have the right set of stakeholders. Sometimes having large team can be unproductive, too many differing ideas can slow down accomplishments. Team Work is productive as long the balance within the team in intact. As soon as the balance is disrupted this will change. Disruption could be that workload changes, new members joining, existing team members leaving. For example in projects this can happen if the projects will run over a long period then the team will experience change on a staffing basis.

Team work is productive as long as everybody in the team understands their responsibilities and delivers what’s expected. But as soon as anyone deviates from his responsibilities knowingly or unknowingly the purpose of team is lost. Team work stops if each individual start giving priority to his/her interests instead of end goal or objective.

About Aditi Malhotra

Aditi Malhotra is the Content Marketing Manager at Whizlabs. Having a Master in Journalism and Mass Communication, she helps businesses stop playing around with Content Marketing and start seeing tangible ROI. A writer by day and a reader by night, she is a fine blend of both reality and fantasy. Apart from her professional commitments, she is also endearing to publish a book authored by her very soon.

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