Groups vs. Teams

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What is the difference between a group of employees and a team? Are there essential differences? What are the implications for leaders?

As a leader, it’s important to understand Group vsTeam distinction. Your approach to leading will be completely different. For managers to make better decisions about whether, when, or how to encourage and use teams, it is important to be more precise about what a team is and what it isn’t.

A group is a collection of individuals who coordinate their individual efforts. A team is a group of people who share a common team purpose and a number of challenging goals. Members of the team are mutually committed to the goals and to each other. This mutual commitment also creates joint accountability, which creates a strong bond and a strong motivation to perform.

Without purpose and goals you cannot build a team. The purpose must be worthwhile and create a sense of doing something important together. The goals must be challenging and specific so that each member can understand how they contribute to the success of the team.

A well-defined strategic plan outlining the purpose, values, goals and objectives of the team becomes the glue that binds the group together and helps transform them into a team. Participation in developing that plan helps to build understanding, consensus, and commitment. As a leader, you use the plan to set expectations for individuals and the team as a whole.

The power of a team emerges from the sense of community that develops and exerts strong influence on the attitudes and behaviors of the participants. Peer pressure and a desire to be a productive member of the team helps to shape priorities and direct efforts where they will support the team goals.

As a leader and manager, you are no longer limited to managing individuals. You have an opportunity to manage the team as a whole and enlist the support of the team to help manage the individuals.

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