In all organizations, there are different types of teams. As a leader, or member, of teams it is important to recognize the type of team one is working in. Often, we work on many different teams or projects. Each team has nuances that make them different and therefore they require a different approach to leading them for greater success. To get us grounded lets first start with a basic definition of a team.
Team Definition – A team is a group of people brought together to accomplish a specific outcome (Team Performance) that which they could not do so as individuals.
Now, let’s look at Five Mechanisms of Team Type that make a team unique or slightly different from others. Think about the teams you are part of as you read on.
First Mechanism: New or Existing
New Team – A new team is a team that is just starting up. In some cases, members may have worked together before and in some cases not. A new team can also be an existing team that has had changes in its membership or purpose. A new team must Start Smart for best success. There needs to be clear goals and expectations.
Existing Team – This is a current team that is working together. Existing teams that are struggling may need a Team Reset to turn the team around.
Second Mechanism: Team Size
Size is an important thing to consider when leading teams. Large teams (over 12 members) are often more complex to lead than small teams (12 or less).
Third Mechanism: Teamwork Relationship
How people interact (Team Effectiveness) around goal accomplishment or work delivery is based on independent and interdependent Work Output (A Team Essential).
Interdependent team – No significant task can be accomplished without the help and cooperation of any of the members. Within the team, members typically specialize in different tasks and the success of every individual is inextricably bound to the success of the whole team. Think of a volleyball team as an example.
Independent team – Task accomplishment is by individuals. No one-member performance has direct effect on the performance of the next member. Team members may be able to help each other – perhaps by offering advice or practice time, by providing moral support, or by helping in the background during a busy time – but everyone’s success is primarily due to each individual’s own efforts. Think of a golf team as an example.
Combination – this is a team that is both Interdependent and Independent.
Fourth Mechanism: Geography
As the workplace becomes more global, team geography becomes important to consider when leading teams.
Virtual Team – Team members are in different locations and communicate mostly through the use of technology. Time zones can impact personal effectiveness.
Co-located – Team members are located in or near each other and often can meet face to face.
Combination – Some team members are co-located, and some are virtual. This can be difficult to manage as face-to-face interactions can lead to a deeper relationship and the virtual members may feel disconnected.
Fifth Mechanism: Duration
Time limited – The team is created for a specific purpose and is dissolved when the task has been completed. If a team is short term the relationships may not have the ability to develop deeper trust levels.
Ongoing – A “Standing” team is a permanent part of the work unit or the organization. These long term teams can often become complacent and may require new inspiration.
For best team performance consider the Five Mechanisms of Team Type and adjust your approach accordingly. Our next blog will continue with the 7 Team Essentials discussion featuring an exploration of Team Output.
If you would like to learn more about our team assessments, contact us.