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What is a Team? Definition, Features, Types (Explained)

What is a Team? What is Teamwork?

We certainly once are a team member anywhere. In school/college when there is an annual program, we participate and perform as team members in games like volleyball, football, hockey, etc.

A team can be defined as a group of people who interact and influence each other for the achievement of a common purpose. Team members are mutually accountable for achieving common objectives.

The best definition of a team may be, when, members are the backbone to each other, members are sure they will get the same response as they provide, builds synergy, everyone is optimistic, no one left the ground until the goal is achieved.

One of the most essential functions of an excellent leader is to create team spirit among the group members. Mostly we see the use of team words in sports games like cricket, football, hockey. An effective team building is equally essential for the success of an organization. For effective team building the dynamic leadership qualities are essential. In organizations, teams are created among the employees for the attainment of organizational objectives effectively and efficiently.

The ideology of the team is can be broadly classified into four orientations viz, power, role, task, and performance. If the ideology of the team and the preferred ideology of the members are also the same orientation, there is a perfect match and members can have a sound psychological contract with the teams.

Teams potentially make more creative decisions and coordinate work without the need for close supervision. All teams require some form of communication to coordinate and share common objectives.


A group whose individual effort result in a performance that is greater than the sum of the individual inputs – S. P. Robbins

A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, set a performance goal, and an approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable – Katzenbach and Douglas Smith

A team is a group of workers that functions as a unit, often with little or no supervision to carry out organizational functions – Ricky W. Griffins

Thus, a team is a formal group made up of interdependent individuals who are responsible for achieving common objectives. A team generates synergy through coordinated efforts. Teams are more flexible and responsive to changing events than the traditional departments or other forms of permanent grouping. Teams facilitate employees’ participation in the opening decision.

Characteristics of Team

The major characteristics of a team are as follows:

  • It is a small group of people with complementary skills.
  • All teams member must have common goals.
  • It is self-directing, autonomous, and self-managing.
  • It has individual and mutual accountability.
  • It has a unified commitment to goal achievement.
  • It has two-way communications.
  • It generates synergy through coordinated efforts
  • It has leadership roles.

Difference Between Group and Team

There are differences between teams and groups. They are not the same thing. All teams are groups because they consist of people within a unifying relationship. But not all groups are teams, some groups are just people assembled.

Other differences:

Strong, clearly focused leader.Shared leadership goals.
Individual accountability.Individual and mutual accountability.
The group’s purpose is the same as the broader
organizational mission.
Specific team purposes that the team itself
Runs efficient meetings.Encourages open-ended discussion and active
problem-solving meetings.
Individual work products.Collective work products.
Neutral synergy (sometimes negative).Positive synergy.
Random and varied skills.Complementary skills.

Types of Team

There are several types of teams that an organization forms. Work teams are responsible for a specific set of the task, the most common types of teams are as follows:

4 types of team

#1 Problem Solving Team

As the name implies, teams are formed to solve organizational problems. Problem-solving teams are composed of 5 to 12 employees from the same department to improve quality, efficiency, and work environment.

In problem-solving teams, members share ideas or offer suggestions on how to work processes and methods can be improved. Members are not fully independent, they can offer suggestions but can not force implementation.

Quality circle falls in this category. Quality circles are small teams of employees consisting of 8 to 10 members, who share an area of responsibility. They meet regularly to discuss their problems, investigate the cause of problems, recommend solutions, and take corrective actions. They assume the responsibility for solving quality problems and evaluate their own feedback.

#2 Self-Managed Team

A self-managed team is a formal group of employees that operates without a manager. These are the small group of employees, typically 10 to 15 number, who perform highly related or independent jobs and bear the responsibilities of their supervisors.

Self-managed team member’s jobs include planning and scheduling of works, assigning tasks to members, collective control over the pace of work making operating decisions, and taking action on problems.

Fully self-managed work teams too pick their own members and have the members assess each other’s doing. As a result, supervisory positions will have little importance and may even be eliminated.

#3 Cross-Functional Teams

Cross-functional teams consist of employees from about the same hierarchal level but different work areas in an organization. This is an effective means for employees from diverse areas within an organization to exchange information, develop new ideas, solve problems, and coordinate complex tasks.

The diverse work team can help identify creative or unique solutions. It takes time to build trust and teamwork, especially among from different backgrounds with different experiences and perspectives. Committees and task forces are examples of cross-functional teams.

#4 Virtual Teams

A virtual team uses computer technology to tie together physically dispersed members to achieve a common goal. It allows groups to meet without concern for space and enables organizations to link workers together in a way that would have been impossible in the past.

Virtual teams can do all the things that other teams do share information, make decisions, complete tasks. Its members use technological advances, like video conferencing, email, zoom meetings, Microsoft teams meetings, the internet, etc.

Virtual teams do coordinate work and take decisions fairly and efficiently. Its members can do their work even if they are far apart and spread in different geographical locations.

Techniques To Manage Team Effectively

10 Easy Ways and Techniques For Effective TeamManagement

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