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Bring Back the Individual!!

Teams and collaboration is often the method used by organisations when tackling projects and tasks. Every component of the company will have a team of people, put together to complete the project. There will be project teams, innovation teams, cross-functional teams and change management teams. Teamwork isn’t a desirable anymore, it is a necessity when looking for the right person to join the organization.

But does this mean the Individual is inferior to the team?

Individualization is where an individual has distinctive and unique characteristics. Essentially, to be special and able to do something and have that labelled to you. However, these traits have become less and less emphasised in deference to the value of the team.

A team of individuals is where everyone has their own unique skillsets and voice to help accomplish the task.

A team of collectives is where everyone lacks a voice and does the task in accordance with the executive.

Bane of Large Organizations

Larger firms and organizations have the tendency to form teams and groups of people that specifically complete one area of work. For some, this approach can be better structured and organized. The downside is that senior executives focus on the team’s progress, which may disguise the contribution of individuals in the team. So as a consequence, some team members may feel disconnected because their personal contribution is not recognised, its all about collectively what the team achieves. There are examples where certain team members are strong performers and the rest are “passengers”.

Individual Talent

The focus on teamwork and fit in a team can be overbearing on the individuals’ skill and individualism. It is very rare for a team to be built from scratch when you are joining the organization. In most cases, there is a foundation and you will be asked to fit in. It is possible when the individual has great skill and has average teamwork but doesn’t ‘click’ with the team. This individual will not get hired regardless of how much of a star performer he may be. There are many cases where talent will be rejected because the emphasis on team spirit is too heavily regarded.

Encourage team work but also encourage those that think outside the box.

Take Home Message:

Teamwork and team spirit are indeed incredibly valuable qualities of an individual. The organization needs to be clear on what they want out of an individual or collective of individuals. The term team is thrown around a lot but not utilized in the most productive manner possible. A team will only succeed if they are individuals not a collective. If the team does not allow for personal exploration and expression, the task won’t be achieved beyond expectation.

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