Monday, September 27, 2010

Group or Team?

We have all been part of groups, but how many us of have been part of a team? How can we tell the difference?

Groups are made up of individuals. Although they may be working on a common task, they still tend to think of themselves as individuals. Each person brings his or her gifts and skills to the enterprise, but they are careful in how they share them, providing only what is absolutely necessary to “do their part.” One reason is that rewards in a group are usually given to certain individuals—the designated leader or the high performers. Interpersonal relationships are guarded and cautious.

A team on the other hand not only has a common purpose, but the persons involved often have a role in shaping that purpose and how it will be achieved. The gifts and skills of each person are not only utilized, they are recognized and encouraged. Teams tend to be more than the sum of their parts because something happens when team members are invested in the outcome of the team’s efforts. A real team shares the rewards with everyone who is a part of team because success or failure is dependent on the team dynamic and not simply individual achievement. Team members appreciate and empower one another.

Working as a group may be hard but it takes much less effort than building a team. Members of a well-functioning team will readily assert that it is worth the extra effort.

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