Individuality in Teams

Recently I posted on Facebook and LinkedIn a link to an article about individuality in teams. Apparently the author is concerned individuals are lost on teams but that’s quite the contrary.

Individuals are very much needed on a team – whether it’s labor-management, any work team or non work team. Every person brings their individual experiences, backgrounds and perspectives. In fact, individuals should be encouraged to speak.

The author is correct if teams or groups are not operating properly (allowing individuals to speak up) than teams won’t work.

Sometimes people use “team” loosely. In other words, they proclaim, “we’re a team,” but without real meaning or not allowing the true team concept to prevail. Proclaiming, “we’re a team,“ does not necessarily mean team.

In a true team process, the team leader, or facilitator, and members need to encourage everyone to provide ideas. That’s what a team is all about – every single person brainstorming new ideas, new ways of doing things instead of the standard “tried and true.”

The author of the article, I also understand, is concerned introverts are left out of teams. Once again, she does have a point – if teams are not managed properly. If someone is uncomfortable speaking out or is quieter than other team members or others dominate the process, it can be difficult without proper facilitation or leading.

The author is really identifying why teams sometimes get a bad rap. Poor management of teams, like anything else, does not provide results or success.

For those of you who have reading our blogs for labor-management cooperation, it’s the same story. Labor-management cooperation can’t happen if everyone can’t bring their ideas to the table. It doesn’t mean the contract is violated. It’s not trying to split or break the union or split management. Every individual is a member of the labor-management team.

Several years ago, we were working with a labor-management team (they truly identified themselves as a team) who had an issue that was extremely sensitive to labor. There was a concern from the entire group discussing the issue could cause them to go backwards in their relationship and abilities. The group was really surprised when they found out they could discuss the matter. Individual union members spoke their own opinion of the problem which gave some clarity of the issues. This was a major turning point for this group. This group turned out to be one of the best committees because of their ability to work on very difficult issues. It may have been because of this situation and the individual contributions.

Becoming a real team is not always easy. It takes time and patience. It’s not always best to go it alone. Some people don’t understand why teambuilding training is important but if you are truly interested, committed in building a team, training and facilitation may be your best option so you can get the most of your team experience.

About CALMC Blog

Columbus Area Labor-Management Committee is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to involving employers and employees to preserve jobs, resolve workplace issues, and promote labor-management cooperation. Visit our website at
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