A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals & approach for which they are mutually accountable. An example is a sports team.
A group of people is made up of individuals each doing their own jobs, working independently towards their own goals. An example is students in a class.
Differences Between Teams & Groups:
1) Teams focus on mutual accountability & collective performance with a sense of common purpose & identity. Groups focus on individual accountability.
2) Members of a team bring to the table a set of complementary roles & appropriate skills. Members of a group may possess the same or different skill sets or learn to acquire the same skill sets.
REASONS OF FORMING TEAMS
Teamwork makes dreamwork. Consider the following reasons why a team is desired.
1) For complex tasks, two heads are always better than one!
2) When creativity is needed, more people can generate more creative solutions.
3) When the direction is unclear, it’s beneficial to have more people working together.
4) Use resources efficiently! People who are good in a particular area can help others maximize the outcome.
5) Get a high commitment. A group of people working on a common goal can inspire one another to stay committed.
6) When every member has a stake in the outcome of a problem, it is helpful to have them all work on the issues together.
7) No one individual has sufficient knowledge to solve all problems.
The foundation of a team is think win-win. Win-win is a frame of mind & heart that constantly seeks mutual benefit in all human interactions.
Agreements or solutions are mutually beneficial & satisfying. Everyone feels good about the decision & committed to the action plan. Also, everyone sees life a cooperative, not a competitive arena.
Win-win is based on the thinking that there is plenty for everyone, that one person’s success is not achieved at the expense or exclusion of the success of others.
Barriers to Team Work
Teamwork makes dreamwork, but it does not always work if barriers exist.
1. Conformity: It is the degree to which members will change their behaviors, views & attitudes to fit the views of the group.
2. Social Loafing: It is a phenomenon that persons make less effort to achieve a goal when they work in a group than when they work alone. It happens when people feel unmotivated when working in a group, because they think that their contributions will not be evaluated.
Elements of Effective teamworks
There are 6 essential elements for a team to maximize its effectiveness.
1) Team Goals: One of them must stand out, be measurable, reasonable & agreed.
2) Communication: All members must
a) contribute ideas,
b) feedback constructively,
c) seek clarification when confused,
d) provide frequent updates to the team,
e) listen to each other carefully.
3) Trust: Members trust that each member will contribute & be appreciated.
4) Sense of Belonging: All is committed to an understood mandate & team identity.
5) Diversity: All must value this as an asset to generate synergistic effects.
6) Evaluation: All are willing to accept constructive criticism, provide authentic feedback & able to self-correct
The Power of Cooperation
The reason that we need team members to have complementary & appropriate skill sets is to create synergy. Synergy means that 1+1>2 or the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It takes place when 2 or more people produce more together than the sum of what they could have produced separately.
The essence of synergy is valuing differences (e.g. opinions, viewpoints, talents). It means that people respect differences & view them as opportunities for learning. When seeking solutions, these differences enable you to discover & produce things that you would less likely discover & produce individually.
Effective Decision Making in Team
Instead of using the common decision making methods which may lead to undesired results, try these Decision Making methods to accomplish team objectives effectively.
1. Standard Agenda:
1- Problem Identification
2- Problem Analysis
3- Criteria Selection
4- Solution Generation
5- Solution Evaluation & Selection
6- Solution Implementation
2. Brainstorming: Members are encouraged to say anything that comes to mind when brainstorming. Every idea is written down & justified for selection.
3. Nominal Group Technique: Members rank a list of options individually. A facilitator computes an average score for each option.