Home LearnOrganizational behavior Team: Definition, Characteristics, Types, and Team Building
Team: Definition, Characteristics, Types, and Team Building

Team: Definition, Characteristics, Types, and Team Building

by Team Businesspedia

What is Team?

A group of people with a full set of complementary skills required to complete a task, job, or project.

Team members

  • Operate with a high degree of interdependence, 
  • Share authority and responsibility for self-management, 
  • Are accountable for the collective performance, and 
  • Work toward a common goal and shared rewards.

A team becomes more than just a collection of people when a strong sense of mutual commitment creates synergy, thus generating performance greater than the sum of the performance of its individual members

A group does not necessarily constitute a team. Teams normally have members with complementary skills and generate synergy through a coordinated effort which allows each member to maximize their strengths and minimize their weaknesses.

Characteristics of Teams

  • There is a clear unity of purpose.  There was free discussion of the objectives until members could commit themselves to them; the objectives are meaningful to each group member. 
  • The group is self-conscious about its own operations. The group has taken time to explicitly discuss group process — how the group will function to achieve its objectives. The group has a clear, explicit, and mutually agreed-upon approach: mechanics, norms, expectations, rules, etc.

Frequently, it will stop to examine how well it is doing or what may be interfering with its operation.

Whatever the problem may be, it gets open discussion and a solution found. 

  • The group has set clear and demanding performance goals for itself and has translated these performance goals into well-defined concrete milestones against which it measures itself. The group defines and achieves a continuous series of “small wins” along the way to larger goals. 
  • The atmosphere tends to be informal, comfortable, relaxed.

There are no obvious tensions, a working atmosphere in which people are involved and interested. 

  • There is a lot of discussion in which virtually everyone participates, but it remains pertinent to the purpose of the group. If discussion gets off track, someone will bring it back in short order. The members listen to each other. Every idea is given a hearing. People are not afraid of being foolish by putting forth a creative thought even if it seems extreme. 
  • People are free in expressing their feelings as well as their ideas. 
  • There is disagreement and this is viewed as good.

Disagreements are not suppressed or overridden by premature group action. The reasons are carefully examined, and the group seeks to resolve them rather than dominate the dissenter. Dissenters are not trying to dominate the group; they have a genuine difference of opinion. If there are basic disagreements that cannot be resolved, the group figures out a way to live with them without letting them block their efforts. 

  • Most decisions are made at a point where there is general agreement.

However, those who disagree with the general agreement of the group do not keep their opposition private and let an apparent consensus mask their disagreement. The group does not accept a simple majority as a proper basis for action. 

  • Each individual carries his or her own weight, to meet or exceed the expectations of other group members. Each individual is respectful of the mechanics of the group: arriving on time, coming to meetings prepared, completing agreed upon tasks on time, etc. When action is taken, clears assignments are made (who-what-when) and willingly accepted and completed by each group member. 
  • Criticism is frequent, frank and relatively comfortable. The criticism has a constructive flavor — oriented toward removing an obstacle that faces the group. 
  • The leadership of the group shifts from time to time.

The issue is not who controls, but how to get the job done.  

Team building

Team building is a collective term for various types of activities used to enhance social relations and define roles within teams, often involving collaborative tasks. It is distinct from team training, which is designed to improve efficiency, rather than interpersonal relations.

Teams can be classified according to their objective. The four most common forms of teams you are likely to find in an organization are problem-solving teams, self-managed teams, cross-functional teams, and virtual teams.

1.Problem Solving Teams

They are typically composed of 5 to 12 employees from the same department who meet for a few hours each week to discuss ways of improving quality, efficiency, and the work environment. Organizations are relaying more and more on problem-solving teams to help solve organizational problems.

In problem-solving teams, members share ideas or offer suggestions on how work process and methods can be improved. Rarely, however, are these teams given the authority to unilaterally implement any of their suggested actions.

2.Self Managed Teams

They are generally composed of 10 to 15 people who take on the responsibilities of their former supervisors. Typically, these responsibilities include:

  • Collective control over the pace of work,
  • Determination of work assignments,
  • Organization of breaks, and
  • Collective choice of inspection procedures used.

Fully self-managed teams select their own members, and the members evaluate each other’s performance. As a result, supervisory positions take on decreased importance and may even be eliminated.

  1. Cross – Functional Teams

Cross-functional teams are made of employees at about the same hierarchical level, but from different work areas, who come together to accomplish a task.

Cross-functional teams are an effective means of allowing people from diverse areas within an organization to exchange information, develop new ideas, solve problems, and coordinate complex projects. Cross-functional teams bring people with different functional specialties to better invent design, or deliver a product or service. The general goals of using cross-functional team include some combination of innovation, speed and quality that come from early coordination among the various specialties

  1. Virtual Teams

Virtual teams use computers technology to tie tighter physically dispersed members in order to achieve a common goal. They allow people to collaborate online, whether they are only a room apart or separated by continents.

The three primary factors that differentiate virtual teams from face-to-face teams are:

  • The absence of Para verbal and nonverbal cues.
  • Limited social context.
  • The ability to overcome time and space constraints.

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