Are the employees in your business working as a “Group” or a “Team? What’s the difference?
A Group is generally considered to be a collection of organizations or individuals sharing a common interest.
Members of groups such as choirs, sporting team supporter clubs, and airline alliances typically have similar attributes and roles in the group.
They usually participate in the group for their personal interest and benefit, rather than higher order goals.
A Team is also a group, but with additional attributes.
Team members frequently have different roles, knowledge and/or skills from other members.
One individual is designated as leader.
Team members are usually dependent on each other to complete the task.
Teams exist to achieve a goal or objective: to win the championship, to sell more product than the opposition, or to transport an aircraft full of passengers safely and efficiently from point A to point B.
Some teams are more successful than others in achieving their objectives.
A “Super-Star” team will always beat a team of “Super-Stars”.
A collection of high-performing individuals does not always make a good team. A ‘super-star’ may be ineffective if the rest of the team does not support him or her well.
Some teams perform incredibly well without star performers, by employing synergy to achieve their goals. Synergy is people acting together as a team and accomplishing things that no individual acting alone could do.
What Makes A Good Team?
- effective and balanced leadership
- clear two-way communication
- clear role allocation
- shared understanding of goals
- clear operating procedures
- balanced participation
- effective feedback
The team leader must demonstrate that they are receptive to contributions from other team members, and establish that this behaviour does not threaten their status.
Whether the team operates effectively depends on the leadership and supporter behaviors demonstrated by team members.
Two-way communication, in particular, team members being given “permission” to speak-up and contributing to team activities.
Team members given skills and tools to enable them to assist or intervene, if they are working with a senior person who may not be readily approachable.
Consider a Formulae 1 pit-crew. How can they successfully change four wheels and top-up the fuel tank of a race car in under 2 seconds.
Pit crewmembers have clear tasks to perform.
There’s the guy who jacks the car, the guy who removes the wheel nut, the guy who pulls the wheel off and another to put the new wheel on and finally the first guy to re-attach the wheel nut.
All relying on each other to achieve the goal.
Overseeing all this is the guy with the “lolly pop”, “Brakes on” or “GO”.
He’s the team leader whose task is to oversee all other tasks and to determine when the job is done.
These pit-crew teams practice over and over. Each member have clear role allocation, they share a common goal and offer effective feedback on each other to improve performance.
Overall there is a team leader who accepts this feedback and supports his team members without any threat to his or the team members status.
Sound teamwork is an important determinant of success for the 21st century.