Secret to Team Collaboration: Individuality

May 7, 2012

by John Baldoni

“We expect everyone here to be team players.” Most of us have had a boss who preached teamwork. Some bosses even like to put up posters with slogans like there is no “I” in team. Teamwork is essential to organizational success but too much teamwork can be deadly. This is the point that Susan Cain, author of “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” argues in an essay for the The New York Times. She points out the drawbacks of too much teaming. “Research strongly suggests that people are more creative when they enjoy privacy and freedom from interruption,” she writes. Further, Cain explains that creative types are by nature introverts but “extroverted enough to exchange and advance ideas (and) see themselves as independent and individualistic.” Cain also quotes from the memoir of Steve “Woz” Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computer and inventor of the very first Apple computer, who advises fellow engineers and inventors to “work alone, not on a committee. Not on a team.”

The challenge for leaders is to balance individual needs with team directives. To do so they must avoid collectivism and facilitate collaboration.

Read on…

Categories: Collaboration, Employee engagement, High performance team.

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