Sometimes leaders ask me, “Is there really a difference between teams and groups? Does difference of this sort actually exist? We always thought there was not much difference.”
Yes, difference exists, and it is at many levels. Therefore, it is vital for the leaders to choose their teams keeping these differences in mind.
Difference # 01
Perception of Competition:
Teams and work groups can be differentiated on the basis of their perception of competition. Within work groups, members tend to compete against each other for favor, recognition, etc. On the other hand, winning teams compete with those outside the organization.
Difference # 02
Focus of Energy:
Within work groups, members devote their energies to serving their own hidden agenda. They tend to be merely task-oriented and focused on personal interest. Winning teams are goal-oriented, working towards the achievement of the team goals and agenda, rather than pulling in different directions.
Difference # 03
Style & Structure:
If you enter a work group, you can sense that they are very autocratic and hierarchical in nature. Teams, on the other hand, tend to be participative and self-steering within the goals of the team.
Difference # 04
View of Differences:
You will also notice that in a work group, members tend to merely ‘tolerate’ each other, while teams tend to enjoy each other. They appreciate and value the presence of other members in the team. It doesn’t mean that there are no differences within teams; differences do exist, but members welcome and encourage them. Differences are considered as resources, while in work groups differences are considered as ‘deficiencies’, which is why disagreements are suppressed.
Difference # 05
View of Risk:
When facing a tough situation, teams do a quick analysis of the situation, gather energy from each other, and are ever ready to take well-calculated risks. On the other hand, work groups tend to avoid risk and maintain the status quo.