An open letter from Glenn Stearns, CEO of Kind Lending
Three men on a desert island find a genie who grants them three wishes. The first man wishes he were home. So does the second. The third man says “It sure is lonely now. I wish those two guys were here with me again.”
It’s an old joke, and I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but it speaks to something all humans can relate to. The need for friendship and togetherness.
We’re social creatures. We do our best work when we’re around others or interacting as part of a team.
Now, there are some people that do their best work alone, so your job as a leader is to identify the folks who excel as a solo act and give them different opportunities from those who need a team to really shine.
Unfortunately, there’s no hard and fast rule on how to identify the difference between these two.
Here at Kind Lending, we tried to make people take a personality test, but somehow half of them wound up taking the Harry Potter Buzzfeed quiz.
Long story short, the phrase “Ten points to Gryffindor” is no longer allowed in the office.
The only real way to tell is to keep an eye on your employees. Try and take some time to evaluate the work they do when they’re alone vs. the work they do in a team setting. And trust me, an exercise like this is worth your time.
I’ve always seen greater rewards from working in a strong collaborative environment, so for the purposes of this article, I’ll be writing about why teamwork makes the dream work.
Why The Team Comes First
While there are countless reasons, I’ve selected three of my favorites. Each of these are backed by science, but you can test each in your workplace by simply talking to the employees who prefer to work collaboratively.
More Heads Are Better Than One
Dr. Patrick Laughlin, of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, ran an experiment pitting the highest performing individuals at one company against a team of 3-5 people with average performance.
According to his findings, the teams consistently outperformed the individual.
While from a budgeting perspective, it might be more cost effective to assign a task to an individual, you need to keep in mind that you’re getting the best quality product when assigning collaborative work.
Teamwork Fosters Innovation
Working with people of different backgrounds and opinions forces you to think outside the box.
Everyone has their own method of problem solving, but nobody’s approach is foolproof.
What makes teams great is that when you have multiple people attacking a problem from every angle, bouncing ideas off of each other, innovation just comes naturally.
Things don’t just slip through the cracks like they would if you assigned the task to a single employee.
People Are Happier in Teams
In a survey conducted by the Atlassian of over 1,000 team members across a range of industries, it was found that when honesty, openness, and respect were encouraged in a team environment, team members were 80% more likely to report emotional wellbeing!
I’ve written at length about the importance of mental health in the workplace, but I thought I’d do a little digging to see if happiness had a specific effect on productivity.
As it turns out, it does.
Researchers at the University of Warwick in England found that happy employees are up to 20% more productive than unhappy employees. Meaning that good teamwork may just be the productivity hack that the industry has been looking for all this time.
I’ve built my whole company on the values of teamwork and strong collaboration. It’s how I made my millions — by surrounding myself with people who were smarter than me. Together we went farther and faster than I ever could have gone alone.
So the next time you’re thinking of flying solo. Think again.
Sometimes, we all need a little help from our friends.