For our August Team on… series, we asked four Lead8 team members to discuss the pros and cons of working as part of a team in a multidisciplinary studio. In part 2 of the series we spoke with Interior Designer, Maricel Ordoñez.
What do you see as the advantages/disadvantages of working as a member of a team?
Defining teamwork: Teamwork is a collective arrangement. It involves interaction among a group of people to achieve a common goal. The interests of the individual are inferior to group unity and efficiency because this system promotes cooperation and partnership.
I find working in a team easier, as tasks are delegated among team members, where ideally, everyone should have clearly defined roles and responsibilities. The more common problems I encounter in teamwork though, are poor communication and the difficulty of making decisions because of the availability of various approaches. Considering the ethos that all team members’ opinions are valued, there needs to be effective leadership to define the mission, decide fairly and delegate tasks according to members’ abilities. When working in a larger team, the work assigned to team members can be concentrated only in one area or you get to do what you only do best. In this situation the opportunity to try new roles or learn new skills is not always an option.
Overall though, working in an effective team is empowering; the availability of so many varied skillsets within the team gives a feeling that anything is possible and no obstacle is too great. When the work is done, you may have less “bragging” rights about the project, but at least you have a team to grab a cold beer with to celebrate the accomplishment!
How does that compare to working alone?
Defining individualism: The idea of individualism is to work, think and judge independently. It promotes desire to achieve personal success and allows members of the workforce to have more accountability and independence.
To be given a project to handle independently is exciting. Undertaking such a big task inspires eagerness for achievement and success. If a project is my sole responsibility, I guarantee that I will go over and beyond to accomplish it with pleasure. This project will surely be a highlight on my resume. However, sometimes things don’t go to plan, especially when the amount of tasks becomes overwhelming. Some unforeseen problems will also undoubtedly arise in the process. That’s when you realize that some concepts are easier to comprehend than to execute. Then I will begin to extend my office hours, take home work and spend weekends in the office. There will be sleepless nights because of pressure and when I sleep, sometimes the work still haunts me in my dreams. After the hard work and sleeplessness though, when the project is done, there will be this satisfaction and proud feeling and you can always say, “this is my project”.
The type of work, project or problem is always the basis for which system will be most effective. The advantage of working individually is you get all the credits to your achievements! It is easier to focus and you get to decide what to do and when. It is also reported to be better at generating innovative and creative ideas. Whereas, working in a team increases the work efficiency in accomplishing projects which are too large or too complex for an individual to do alone. It is also undoubtedly the best situation for a project which requires various types of resources and human abilities. Teamwork also allows the group to share ideas or explore a problem through brainstorming and increases the chances of detecting flaws in a solution, which an individual might miss. Solid communication skills and cooperation is very important to have an operative team.
Teamwork and individualism, though very opposite in approach, are both vital in this field of work. My belief is that these approaches should co-exist within a company to encourage and enable workers to achieve their goals.