The concept of Team is vital to success in Business, and Team Building is part of every Manager’s role. By building high performing Teams, an organisation can harness the power of many individuals to achieve even greater heights. A good Team has benefits both for the Company, and for the individual members of the Team. Belonging to a winning Team is one of the most satisfying and motivating factors inside and outside of work. Team Building is an important part of working life. But what exactly IS a Team?

Defining ‘Team’
To build a Team, it is important that a Leader has a tangible, clear vision of what exactly he or she is building, and that they have a good definition of what a Team is, and what it is not. It is equally important when discussing Team Building with the Team itself, that everyone has a shared understanding of the definition of Team.

A Team is 2 or more people, but so too is a Group, and the two are very different entities. There are 4 factors that differentiate a Team from a Group of people.

1. A Team is a Group of people who work together to achieve a SHARED purpose. By shared, we mean that all of the Team members have the SAME understanding of what their purpose is.
2. They are cohesive, they have a SENSE of being on a Team. They do NOT have to be doing the same tasks, nor do they need to be working in the same area, but they still feel as if they belong on this Team.
3. The way the work together ENABLES them to work better as a Team
4. They perform better as a Team than they would as a group of individuals

Comparing Team to Group
To get a better appreciation of the term Team, it is useful to compare this to the definition of a group in working life. A group is 2 or more people who work together. They may get on very well and they may have coffee or lunch together. They may even work very close to each other. However, the members of the group are not enabling each other to achieve a higher level of performance.

It may be that they do not have feeling of being involved together in achieving their shared purpose. Indeed, they often do not have a shared purpose at all, with each focussing only on their own, individual, purpose. They may be very nice, high performing individuals, but they are not benefitting from buzzing off each other. They may have coffee, but they talk about social life rather than work.

In terms of Team Building, if the group is, indeed, made up of high performers, it is even more powerful to bind them together in to a Team. The performance will skyrocket!

A Bad Group and Groupthink
A bad group is individuals who are working together in a way that is not helping, and may even be hindering, the output of the group. A bad group is not cohesive, there are individuals and small cliques. Some of these are trying to achieve, while others are not. The output of a bad group will be much lower than a group or a Team.

Groupthink is the opposite of Team, and is another very powerful entity. Groupthink does not often occur in the working world, but it is useful to be aware of this, and to be careful to avoid this happening to your Team. This is where a group is very cohesive and they have a very strong sense of belonging. However, they are heading in the OPPOSITE direction to their shared purpose. These folk have a shared understanding of their working world and their role in work that is working AGAINST achievement and success. Achievement to this group is bad. They protect their views and they will reject anyone who tries to argue with them, often stereotyping and labelling them as an ‘outgroup’.

For the purposes of your Team Building, this will give you a clearer definition of the concept of Team.

Author's Bio: 

Kate Tammemagi is a Team Building Facilitator in Ireland. She facilitates highly effective Team Building Events.