To Team or Not to Team?

Submitted By:
Eric Temple, Lick-Wilmerding High School, CA

This short provocative piece in this month's The Economist reviews some recent research about the effectiveness of working in teams. As schools continually push team learning and leading, both mirroring and motivating the for-profit sector, knowing how to manage and use teams becomes ever more pressing. The article not only points out the strengths of effective teamwork, but also examines some of the challenges. One business professor notes that, "Teams are not always the answer - teams may provide insight, creativity and knowledge in a way that a person working independently cannot; but teamwork may also lead to confusion, delay and poor decision making." When you dig deeper into the lack of training that business executives receive - Deloitte reports only 12% of the executives they contacted feel they understand the way people work together in networks - and compare that to the way "millennials" have been educated to work in teams, there is a disconnect between expectation and lived experience in the work place. Perhaps independent schools can help, educating students about how to work in teams, how to manage teams and when to use teams to get the best results.

Leadership Practice