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Part I: Designing a Successful Blueprint... > Defining Group vs. Team Characterist...

Chapter 3. Defining Group vs. Team Characteristics

To help you determine whether you are working with a group or a team, compare the characteristics in the two columns. In which category is your current unit?

Groups Teams
Members think they are grouped together for administrative purposes only. Individuals work independently, sometimes at cross-purposes with others. Members recognize their interdependence and understand that personal and team goals are best accomplished with mutual support. Time is not wasted struggling over “turf” or attempting personal gain at others’ expense.
Members tend to focus on themselves because they are not sufficiently involved in planning the unit’s objectives. Their approach to their job is simply that of a hired hand. Members feel a sense of ownership for their jobs and the unit because they are committed to goals they helped establish.
Members are told what to do rather than being asked what the best approach would be. Suggestions are not encouraged. Members contribute to the organization’s success by applying their unique talent and knowledge to team objectives.
Members distrust their colleagues’ motives because they do not understand the others’ role. Expressions of opinion or disagreement are considered divisive or non-supportive. Members work in a climate of trust and are encouraged to openly express ideas, opinions, disagreements, and feelings. Questions are welcomed.
Members are so cautious about what they say that real understanding is not possible. Game playing may occur and communications traps may be set to catch the unwary. Members practice open and honest communication. They make an effort to understand one another’s point of view.
Members may receive good training but are limited by the supervisor or other group members in applying their training to the job. Members are encouraged to develop skills and apply what they learn on the job. They receive the support of the team.
Members find themselves in conflict that they do not know how to resolve. Their supervisor may put off intervention until serious damage is done. Members recognize conflict is normal in human interaction but they view such situations as an opportunity for new ideas and creativity. They work to resolve conflict quickly and constructively.
Members may or may not participate in decisions affecting the team. Conformity often appears more important than positive results. Members participate in decisions affecting the team but understand that their leader must make a final ruling whenever the team cannot decide or in an emergency. Positive results, not conformity, are the goal.



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