What is a team?
A team is a collection of people who possess complementary skills, who work together, and who are striving to achieve a shared goal.
Some other definitions of a team
"A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they are mutually accountable." (Katzenbach and Smith, 1993)
“An organization in which the members have a common goal, have the same interests and same beliefs, and have activities that must be coordinated so as to achieve a higher effectiveness.” (Levis, 1988) Types of teams
Teams can be classified according to their objective. The four most common forms of teams are: A) Problem-Solving Teams
They are typically composed of 5 to 12 employees from the same department who meet for a few hours each week to discuss ways of improving quality, efficiency, and the work environment.
Figure 1: Problem solving team
In problem-solving teams, members share ideas or offer suggestions on how work process and methods can be improved. Rarely, however, are these teams given the authority to unilaterally implement any of their suggested actions B) Self-Managed Teams
They are generally composed of 10 to 15 people who take on the responsibilities of their former supervisors. Typically, these responsibilities include: a) Collective control over the pace of work,
b) Determination of work assignments,
c) Organization of breaks, and
d) Collective choice of inspection procedures used.
Fully self-managed teams select their own members, and the members evaluate each other’s performance. As a result, supervisory positions take on decreased importance and may even be eliminated.
Figure 2: Self Manage team
C) Cross - Functional Teams
Cross-functional teams are made of employees at about the same hierarchical level, but from different work areas, who come together to accomplish a task. D) Virtual Teams
Virtual teams use computers technology to tie tighter physically dispersed members in order to achieve a common goal. They allow people to collaborate online, whether they are only a room apart or separated by continents. E) Informal vs. Traditional
Informal teams are typically formed for social purposes as opposed to the tradition team that is formed with a specific work process or goal in mind. One example of an informal team would be a group of co-workers who meet informally over lunch breaks to discuss problems with the work environment
Meredith Belbin’s work on Team Roles or Functions is often used to investigate how individuals behave or what functions they perform in a group. Belbin identifies nine group roles, or clusters of behaviour. These roles have been categorised as either function (or task-oriented) or cerebral (people-oriented), fitting with the task and relationship roles of leadership as described below. Belbin's team roles are:
The Shaper is a dynamic, outgoing member of the team; they are often argumentative, provocative and impatient Implementer
Implementers get things done – they have the ability of transforming discussions and ideas into practical activities. Completer-Finisher
The Completer/Finisher is a task-orientated member of the group and as their name implies they like to complete tasks. Coordinator/ Chairperson
The Coordinator is often a calm, positive and charismatic member of the team. Team Worker
The Team Worker helps by giving support and encouragement to the other members of the team. Resource Investigator
The Resource Investigator is a strong communicator, good at negotiating with people outside the team and gathering external information and resources. Plant
The Plant is an intellectual and individualistic member of the team. Monitor Evaluator
The Monitor Evaluator is unlikely to get aroused in group discussions – they tend to be clever and unemotional, often detected from other members of the team....
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