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Determine If You Are A Group Or A Team

Determine If You Are A Group Or A Team

A real team is defined as having clear boundaries, interdependent goals,and clarity of membership. In other words, knowing clearly who is on the team and who is not a regular team member is important (Wageman et al., 2008).

It is also critical for the team to know when they need the support and input of all team members versus when they can work more independently.

This does not mean that a team must do everything together or be interdependent to achieve all goals. However, there must be at least some interdependence and common objectives, or else the team is really just a group.

A group is a collection of individuals that have something in common but truly do not need to work together regularly to achieve their goals.

They are also not rewarded for working together the way a real team is. Being a group is not a problem; it just means a different way of working.

Individual commitment to a group effort—

that is what makes a team work, a company work,

a society work, a civilization work.

- Vince Lombardi, American Football Coach


To determine if you are more like a group or more like a team, ask:

  • What goals does the team have that truly require all of your team members to work together?
  • Do all team members agree about who is on the team and who is not?
  • How are your team members rewarded and/or compensated? Solely for meeting individual goals or for meeting at least some shared goals?

Ensure the team is interdependent, not just a group of people assigned to the same task or function. If you are more like a group, then make sure you collaborate but don’t demand unnecessary interdependent teamwork.


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