Decades of research have shown over and over that working as a team can be more effective than by yourself. Together, the team has the capacity to reach goals and achieve measures that extend far beyond the abilities of a single person. But what happens when each member of the team has their own weaknesses?
Because of this challenge, there are still those who prefer to work by themselves. But with a strategic understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of each member of the team, the overall performance of the group can become maximized, reducing the limitations of the individual and compensating for them with the whole team’s strengths.
To this end, the dynamics of humans individually and as a group must be evaluated and understood to overcome the strengths and weaknesses of your research team and move forward for the collective good of a common goal.
Research Styles and Their Effects
In many research teams, there is a diverse group of members all seeking to achieve a common goal, but with each person’s idea of how to get there a little different. Understanding the different research styles, then, allows everyone to focus on their strengths and how to use them to work collaboratively towards the ultimate goal.
There are many studies on breaking down personalities by traits to characterize individuals into a subset of groups. Some of the most common research styles are:
● Creatives, who focus on finding new, improved ways to accomplish a step. Creatives tend to think outside the box, looking for answers that might not even exist yet. Their strengths lie in their constant aim to do and be better and their optimism that there’s an answer to the problem, even if it’s not visible yet.
However, creatives also tend to get bored easily, skip the important details and data-driven information, and rush results to move on to the next step.
● Producers, team members who set goals and then set smaller tasks to achieve the goals. Producers want to take action and get to work, regardless of how hard the job is. Instead of thinking through possibilities, a producer focuses on one task, starts working, and sees it through to the end.
Producers have strengths that help out the team, but they also neglect to think beyond the immediate circumstances. They work on the job at hand, dealing with all the details to perfection, but forget about things such as deadlines and overworking themselves.
● Task keepers, organizational gurus who thrive at keeping others accountable and on deadlines. Task keepers are necessary to groups that might otherwise lose sight of important meetings and scheduled events. They can pull together many diverse details to compile one system and move it forward, including encouraging different team members to work together.
As a team player, though, task keepers often neglect to think of others’ research styles. They want the job done, on time, moving forward. When obstacles get in the way, they are often intolerant of them, just wanting the schedule adhered to, whatever it takes.
● The brain, those who work solely on a high intellectual level. These people are the ones that the team turns to for answers. They can assimilate data quickly and churn out solutions by weeding through scenarios in their minds.
Brains have a tendency to be disorganized, working on whatever runs through their mind. They also frequently lack social skills because they see the flaws in others’ ideas and are quick to point out a better solution.
With so many different personality types in your research team, it’s important to build on the strengths of each individual. When differences of opinion and style collide, the consequences can be damaging to the entire project.
Ultimately, the best way to overcome differences in a team is to remember that each person is there for the same goal. In theory, that works well, but in practice, human nature is a sensitive thing.
Each team must have strategies in place to overcome differences when they arise. The first, preventative measure is to ensure the composition of the team uses each individual’s strengths to shape the project as well as possible. Each team member brings something to the table, and that knowledge should be shared with others.
Other strategies and interventions can include professional development practices. Formal programs that focus on encouraging diversity and exploring the strengths of each other, when implemented regularly, have a strong effect on shaping positive viewpoints and working together through disagreements.
None of these practices work well without strong leadership, however. The essential part of a research team is a leader who can organize the group, keep tabs on the temperature of each member, and adjust as necessary, all while keeping the end goal as the most important factor.
With these measures addressed before the team is even compiled, the strengths can overcome weaknesses to maximize group effort.
Impactio Can Help Your Research Team
If you’re considering putting together a team for your academic project, Impactio can help. It’s an all-in-one platform for scholars to connect through a network of peers. The program allows you to publish your work, track its impact after publication, and develop an academic profile to share with others.
As you explore the community in Impactio, you’ll find peers with the research styles you are looking for to create the research team you need for your next project, or you can connect with those who are putting together their own team to show them what a valuable asset your own unique style is!