Being part of a team can be an ideal opportunity for people to share their skills and reach goals that would be difficult to achieve alone. While good teams optimize talent and increase satisfaction, teams that don't work well together can be a source of frustration. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of being on a team can help people decide whether they should work with others or individually on a given project.
Division of Labor
One of the greatest advantages of being on a team is being able to divide up the work and reduce the load on each person. Each member can then focus on doing the part he is best at. A downside to this division of labor is that there are some individuals who take advantage of others and fail to do their part. These free-riders can add stress on the team and create resentment among team members.
Whether it be in sports or in the corporate world, any time a group of individuals come together there is potential for conflict due to inherent differences in personality. Politics, disagreements and misunderstandings can slow progress and cause frustration among team members. The flip side is that working with people with varying personalities brings diversity and freshness of ideas. Team members can learn from each other and benefit from compromises.
Working on a team can lead to deep and meaningful friendships forged through common interests and shared experiences. Athletes often form long-lasting bonds with their teammates. Coworkers may become friends after getting to know one another better through projects. Being friends with a teammate can be a disadvantage if the project creates disagreements between them. In that situation, the work may put a strain on the relationship and cause friends to drift apart.
All teams create a sense of responsibility on its members. This sense of accountability can be an advantage for those who like to have an external source of pressure to motivate them, but it does not suit those who prefer not to feel beholden to others' expectations. For example, some people choose to play individual rather than team sports so as not to feel that their performance will effect others and vice versa.