25 Sep Working with a multidisciplinary team: Advantage or disadvantage?
This 2020 has made our working environment evolve in almost every aspect. So much so, it’s likely that during this process you’ve noticed that it’s almost impossible to work alone; in many cases, you will need a team to support you, whether it be by providing new ideas, or helping with the work load. But when it comes to special projects or problem solving, is it an advantage or a disadvantage to work with other professionals from different areas of expertise? Stick around and soon enough we’ll let you in on some tips for managing this situation, and so you can learn the good and the bad that comes with working with a multidisciplinary team.
Multidisciplinary team– According to IOE Business School: “it’s a group of people with different academic formations, specialities, and professional experiences, that work together, whether it be on a daily basis or just for a specific period of time to solve complex problems from different angles”.
Here we have some advantages of working with a team of professionals that are skilled in different areas:
- Makes assigning tasks easier– When each person on a team has a particular ability or knowledge, this improves the task division process because everyone already knows who is an expert in a determined area.
- There’s less feeling of competition– Since each professional has a different background, whether it be by what they have studied or where they have worked at, all of these experiences are greatly valued. It’s less probable that other members of the team feel excluded or intimidated by another person’s knowledge, because they acknowledge that each person is an expert in a different field.
- You have insights from multiple perspectives– Thanks to the variety of industry professionals on your team, they can provide suggestions from different points of view. Each member has a unique trajectory, and thanks to this, they can share relevant solutions.
- Encourages rethinking and restructuring processes– Maybe professionals from X area are used to doing things a certain way, while experts in another industry might do their projects differently. This clash of ideas usually leads to innovation and improvement.
- You’re constantly learning from them– Every single person in a team can learn something from their colleagues. It’s important to take advantage of this great opportunity, because if there’s something you’d like to learn about, you can ask someone to help you. For example, if you’re a finance expert, but would like to know more about graphic design, ask your team’s designer to show you a thing or two! This way, team member can complement each other.
Along the way, you may experience some disadvantages as well:
- Learning to trust and collaborate– Not everyone is a natural team player. Some may find it more difficult than others to work alongside other people. There are those who might find it hard to depend on others to complete tasks, because they may feel that the results will be better if they just do it themselves. These types of people that usually prefer to be in total control of their projects will need to learn to manage this feeling so they can feel more comfortable letting others in on their work.
- Team direction– A multidisciplinary team will always need at least one leader to guide its members and establish instructions. If not, team members will likely feel lost and without direction.
- Managing different mentalities– Since multidisciplinary teams are composed of professionals from different industries, it’s completely normal for there to be discrepancies in terms of ideas and visions. You must be willing to work with an open mind, collaborate, and listen to fellow colleagues.
- Accepting others’ way of working– Sometimes, people from one industry have a way of doing things, and it may be different from what you’re used to. It might be difficult to change your everyday process, but everyone must try to adapt to a new pace in order to collaborate. Each member must also respect how others choose to work on their own time.
- Develop patience– Something that is essential in a working environment, and that may prove to be a challenge, is learning to develop patience. If things aren’t going your way, don’t panic. Share your worries with the rest of the team and if you have any suggestions or solutions, share them as well. You should also know that even though you suggest something, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be implemented. At the end of the day, it all depends on what the leader wants and what agreements are made as a team.
- We must be receptive to this type of teamwork because our project can benefit from having the expertise of many different professionals. You can’t see other people’s abilities or experience as a threat, but rather see them as a strength that will benefit you all. Even though you might think that different points of view might damage the group dynamic, all it does is enhance it. At the end of the day, everyone has a common goal, and that should be the main focus.
- There won’t always be synchronization right from the very beginning, but if everyone does their part and takes their time to collaborate with an open mind, you’ll see how this unity will create an outstanding team
- It doesn’t necessarily mean that the more professionals you have on the team, the better it’s going to be. It’s a matter of being able to identify which professionals you need to include in your team, depending on the project you’re managing. Everyone must complement each other in order to reach the goal.