Team. What most people work in is called a “team”. But what is a team? And what sets it apart from a “group”?
Get a number of people together, with different jobs, and put them together. That’s not a team. It’s a group, a collection. And it’s probably a bit chaotic!
A team, in the business sense, has no single point failures – take one person away and the process (delivering the work) continues. The members are so in tune with each other that they can cope with shortages (for a limited time). There is respect in a team. Don’t confuse that with friendship or liking each other. That’s not required. And a true team doesn’t need to socialise outside of work, or successfully build rafts together. They just need to know how to get the job done, trust each other and deliver.
Does a team need a leader? I would argue it doesn’t. A team will be built and developed by a leader – but in terms of delivering – it just does it.
Take the England football team (sorry!). Once they got to Russia they were a true team – There was very little that Gareth Southgate (leader) could do. They just knew what to do on the pitch, and got on with it. Groups in years gone by (Beckham era for example) had much more individual talent but weren’t as successful. Southgate had done a great job in building the team – but it was down to them alone to deliver the project (the game). Here endeth the football analogy and yes, it pained me to use the English football team as a positive example!
Can a team have conflict? Hell yes! I would argue (see – conflict!) it’s what makes the team successful. Being able to voice your disagreement and to explore alternatives is only possible when there is trust and confidence and a common goal.
And that is the key. A group does not have a common goal – they are vying for different things. A team has a common goal – cable replacement or maximising profit or improving quality or whatever. For me a team is short term, or at least time-limited. It isn’t just a department, together for eternity. Power struggles occur in departments, people pushing for limited number of promotions, or to look good. Teams don’t bother with that. They just deliver.

Let me know what you think. Do you work in a team or a group? What is the key to a successful team?
And if your group needs help in becoming a team and delivering successful projects then get in touch with me