The Myths and Realities of Teamwork

By Katia Savenko Updated January 03, 2022

For the written assignment, I will briefly explain six myths for their validity and select one further investigation.

Myth 1. Teams are harmonious people who compromise their needs for the sake of the team. 

The myth says that everyone in the team is alike as people work together and they are selfless for achieving a common goal. The essay will discuss several reasons for the myth to exist further in the second part.

Myth 2. Team conflict is unhealthy. We have discussed the benefits of conflicts in the previous unit. Thus, all findings can relate to team conflict too. However, team conflict has a constant third party involved – a team leader. For becoming triangulate, the conflict has a tendency to trigger the Karpman triangle where the leader acts as either rescuer or persecutor. In an optimistic scenario, the lead plays the role of mediator and helps parties work collaboratively. 

Myth 3. Most people like teamwork. That is an excellent question. I assume most people want to socialize and belong to a group. Maslow’s pyramid is proof of it; there are two levels of social needs – belonging and being esteemed. Meanwhile, the cohesive team is more than just a group of diverse individuals doing something together. Teamwork is about taking a role within the team, accepting that an individual input relies on the performance of others, staying connected, and being honest to contribute even during tough times. I think myth 3 vanishes when the understanding of teamwork goes beyond simple socialization and determines the roles and goals. 

Myth 4. Teamwork is essential to business success. It is as if a complex matter needs a complex solution in most cases. At the same time, remember about the Ringelmann effect and avoid exaggerating simple issues.

Myth 5. Teams are easy to influence and manage. I doubt that but let us get digging for the statement. Perhaps, myth 5 stems from the idea that crowd control is less energy and time-consuming than an individual approach to each member. In practice, team leadership (vs. solo leadership) requires sufficient characteristics of the leader (:

  1. Choose to limit role and delegate (vs. plays an unlimited role);

  2. Builds on diversity (vs. strive for conformity);

  3. Develops leaders (vs. direct subordinates);

  4. Create a mission (vs. project objectives).

Myth 6. Senior Managers encourage teamwork. As we learned already, McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y highlight two opposite approaches to leadership. Thus, it depends on the supervising style of the leader, his managerial skills, and a goal – lead for power or lead to serve. Assumingly, myth 6 is partially true nowadays.

For taking a closer look, I chose myth 1. First, it may happen when the definition of teamwork is confused with a group activity where employees have similar skill sets and perform accordingly for achieving the shared goal but individually. In teamwork, they strive to complete the task collectively. Ergo, multiple perspectives are beneficial for high performance.

Second, the similarity-attraction paradigm, social identity theory, and stereotyping could reinforce this myth 1. These findings “posits that individuals are attracted to others with whom they share attitude similarity” (Black, Gardner, Pierce, & Steers, 2019, para. 12). 

On the flip side, the cognitive diversity hypothesis dispels this myth: diverse teams outperform homogeneous ones for having a variety of perspectives and ideas. 

Besides, each participant should perform broad view (vs. stereotyping), organizing, and problem-solving skills. Still, it takes time for members with different backgrounds to start working together collaboratively in the initial stage. Thus, it requires time to stick together and is applicable for long-term projects (Black, Gardner, Pierce, & Steers, 2019). 

To conclude, myths 4 and 6 are sensitive to particular situations and can be challenged partly, while myths 1, 2, and 3 relate to teamwork in general and are fundamentally incorrect. Surprisingly, there are more than six myths about teamwork, and the best way to clear the air is knowledge, the latter research, and business field experience.


Black, S., Gardner, D.G., Pierce, J.L., & Steers, R. (2019). Key Diversity Theories. Diversity in Organizations. OpenStax. Retrieved from

Wright, D. (2013). The myths and realities of teamwork, 1st ed. Retrieved from

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