Team Definition – Nature, Characteristics and Types of Teams

Definition – A team is a small group of people with complementary skills, who work actively together to achieve a common purpose for which they hold themselves collectively accountable.

Advantages of teams

  1. Outperform individuals
  2. Effectively increase motivation
  3. Facilitate employee involvement
  4. More flexible and responsive to changes in the environment
  5. Ensure better use of employee talents

Nature of teams

  1. A relatively permanent workgroup
  2. Members coordinate activities to achieve one or more common objectives
  3. The fundamental goal is to perform collectively
  4. Leadership roles are shared
  5. Teams are encouraged to conduct open-ended problem-solving meetings
  6. All teams are groups, but all groups are not teams because teams concentrate on individual and team goals, and team members share responsibility for the results.

Characteristics of an effective team

  1. Objectives and goals should be obvious and easily implementable.
  2. Openness and confrontation should be present.
  3. There should be co-operation and trust among members.
  4. Procedures should be sound
  5. Leadership should be appropriate
  6. Team performance should be reviewed regularly
  7. Individual development should be focused on
  8. Inter-group relationships should be sound

Types of teams

1. Problem-solving team

  • These are temporary teams, and their main objective is solving specific problems in the workplace.
  • Such teams are dissolved after they solve the problem at hand

2. Work teams

  • These teams focus on routine work in organisations.
  • The aim is to ensure optimum use of an organisation’s resources.

3. Management teams

  • These are temporary teams, and their main objective is solving specific problems in the workplace.
  • Such teams are dissolved after they solve the problem at hand

4. Cross-functional teams

  • Such teams comprise employees at the same hierarchical levels but work in different domains. The members collaborate to achieve a task.
  • Such teams assist people from different areas in an organisation to exchange information, develop ideas, solve problems, and co-ordinate difficult projects.

5. Virtual teams

  • The members of such a team do not meet in person.
  • They conduct meetings using computers, teleconferencing, and other modern electronic communication devices.

Setting Team Goals

1. Alignment

Individual and team goals should be aligned with each other

2. Understanding

Members should clearly understand how delivery of goals at the individual level contributes to the team and the organisation overall.

3. Smart

Goals should be

S – Specific

M –Measurable

A –Attainable

R –Realistic

T –Timely

4. Allocation

Accountabilities and responsibilities should be allocated clearly.

5. Performance indicators

Key performance indicators should be devised to determine progress towards objectives. If targets are off track, corrective measures should be implemented.

6. Identifying dependencies

Inter-task dependencies should be identified, inputs delivered by individuals or other teams or should be identified, and a regular flow of communication among the members should be maintained.

7. Identifying risks

Risks must be isolated and steps to avoid them must be implemented.

8. Commitment by all members

Team members should be committed to realizing team goals.

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Article by:

Runal Mehta

Runal brings in more than a decade’s worth of experience in the field of consulting and education. He loves writing research oriented articles at Digiaide.