Teams vs Groups
What you will get: A comparison of groups and teams
“Have you earned the ‘TEAM’ title?”
It is easy for a group of people to call themselves a “team” – but that does not mean they are a team!
As far as I see it, you have to earn the title of “team.”
For example, I have encountered many senior management teams over the years who actually behave like a group of people, not a team of people.
So what’s the difference?
Well, here is a list of comparisons on how I see a GROUP compared to a real TEAM.
As I go through the list, it may be useful for you to reflect on the team or teams you are in, and decide for yourself if it is a real team.
- In a group, members feel they have been put together for administrative purposes only. In a team, there is a true sense of interdependence. In other words a 1 + 1 = 4 mentality.
- Group members tend to work and think independently for personal gain. In a team, there is little time for personal gain – it is all about working together.
- In a group, members do not feel committed to a common goal. Teams have common, agreed goals, clear values and clarity of purpose. And all members work towards those agreed goals.
- In a group, there is little sense of loyalty. So if members disagree with a group decision, they often go outside the group and criticise it. Team members stay loyal to agreed team decisions, even if they disagree personally.
- In a group there is little sense of ownership – members are just told what to do. Teams involve people in decision making, create shared ownership and welcome new ideas.
- In a group, trust levels are often low. Members are cautious about what they say and play political games. Teams create a climate of trust and openness – and listening to people’s ideas and concerns is welcomed.
- In a group conflict is often avoided as it is seen as a win-lose (“What’s the point, he always does what he wants anyway!”). Teams recognise conflict as a normal thing amongst humans, and always openly embrace it as an opportunity for a win-win.
Of course, I could continue, but I guess you get the idea?
So the title of “team” is not something to take lightly.
It is a title that needs to be earned by creating common values, beliefs and goals. And it needs to be worked on each day by creating and reinforcing acceptable team behaviour codes.
Then, and only then, can you call yourselves a team.
So, are you currently in a team or a group?
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