Teamwork vs. Individualism
Your small business can benefit from teamwork. It can also benefit from individual effort and insight. Both of these approaches have their place in business. Your job is to balance the two so that your business receives all the benefits that only teamwork can provide, while recognizing and rewarding individual initiative that can advance your business in ways that teamwork can't.
Teams pool the resources of several individuals to solve problems and create initiatives. A strong team can achieve things that none of the individual team members could. Cross-functional teams, for example, can utilize expertise from production, accounting and marketing to look at a problem from multiple angles and come up with solutions that serve the entire company rather than a single department. Project-oriented teams can draw on the insights of different personality types such as logical thinkers, creative thinkers, risk takers and those who prefer to limit risk to design projects in a balanced manner.
Teams sometimes lose their effectiveness because a single personality begins to dominate and follow where to go along in the name of finding a consensus. Instead of seeking the best course of action, a team may seek the most convenient path. Group decisions are not always the most courageous, and the team may throw out unique insights because they don't appeal to a majority.
Individuals with strong problem-solving skills can find solutions for your problems that your competition may not discover. The nature of individualism is that it's unique and even quirky. This is why highly-individualistic thinking stands out from the crowd. As "Inc." Magazine points out, having several strong individuals on the team creates an atmosphere of collaboration instead of collectivism. Individuals who insist on having their point of view heard can champion good ideas that are unpopular.
If someone is so individualistic that he doesn't communicate the criteria for decisions and the contributions that will be needed from fellow employees for a successful initiative, he may alienate and dis-empower people that could help his cause. A number of such strong individuals in a business could cause it to seem fragmented as it moves in several directions at once. A strong individual can show impatience for the process of building a consensus and compromising on a course of action. This can create tension in the organization.