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What is the differnce between a group and a team

In every language we speak of group and team as they were synonyms.

By Míriam GuaschPublished 6 months ago 7 min read

However, when used correctly, they are two concepts that mean different things. We could summarize the topic by saying that the main difference is sharing goals and objectives.

Several studies show that the best management-level teams, made up of members with widely differing backgrounds and skills, make higher-quality decisions than relatively homogeneous teams. Being different is not enough: to highlight the richness that heterogeneity provides, it is necessary for the team to have dynamics that allow members to have a constructive critical dialogue, be open to change and willing to learn from each other.

Members must be able to identify and understand the perspectives of others, synthesizing them into better decisions than those derived from the competition and compromise processes so common in everyday work life.

Difference between team and group: is it better to be different or similar?

However, it is clear that diversity can easily lead to conflict. But does conflict within teams indicate a malfunction? No, it's not necessarily a bad thing, it depends on how it's handled and the results it generates. Within any team , occasional conflicts are almost inevitable. Good teamwork allows you to make the most of them and turn them into wealth.

To achieve this it is necessary:

Reflect on conflict situations to clarify them in our minds before even discussing them.

Try to resolve conflicts first between the people involved and only second, and if necessary, in a group.

Accept that the other party has a different point of view , which may depend on different factors at play (priorities, expectations, past experiences…).

Try to understand the point of view of the other.

Look for solutions that satisfy and are beneficial for both parties, but above all for the achievement of the team's objective.

We promise to respect and apply the agreed solutions.

First differences between the terms group and team

The term group is used to indicate a group of people united by functions, environments, feelings... but who carry out their actions in a mostly individual way, without influencing each other in a reciprocal way.

On the other hand, the team is a group of people who carry out actions to achieve the same goal together . Think sports teams, or even work teams within a company. Team members can work individually or together, as long as the goal to be achieved is common.

In short, this is the main difference between the two terms, which are often used interchangeably. Let's now explore some fundamentals, considering that this distinction is especially important in the world of work, where you need to feel more like a team than a group!

The "goals" of a team

In a team, the various components have a common objective , and the union represents the first great means to achieve it.

Just one of the team is enough to feel on a razor's edge, and the grip on the entire chain loosens. To maintain cohesion, it is important to have a team member who tends to make the environment positive. In the company, for example, a leader who maintains high ambitions will be needed to achieve the goal.

All this does not exist in a group, since each one works for himself, and pursues his own goal towards individuality, it does not matter if there is a leader or a coach who is there to talk, dialogue or communicate.

From the group to the team, why is it worth investing time and resources in the construction team?

Ket de Vries - recognized among the 50 most important management thinkers in the world and among the most influential scholars of human resource management - with more than 30 years of experience in the largest multinationals and with studies carried out at INSEAD, highlighted that in cash teams, people:

  • they are encouraged to do their best;
  • they know how to give meaning to their work;
  • have the feeling that they can determine their own future;
  • have a strong sense of belonging to the company;
  • enjoy your work;

They see the best in themselves emerge and see their shortcomings compensated by the qualities of others.

Functional teams go hand in hand with dynamic, productive, creative work environments with a clearly perceptible positive climate. Last but not least, companies that support effective work groups have been shown to be significantly more profitable and sustainable.

All this invites us to move forward with conviction in our work in the development and support of functional teams, through training but also in facilitating work within companies that are open to this type of mentality!

Meaning of team: how to manage and create effective work teams

Too many leaders have no idea how to build and manage well-functioning teams. For many, teamwork is a nuisance, a burden, or a necessary evil. Unfortunately, the price paid due to dysfunctional work groups can be staggering in terms of repercussions, both business and personal.

At the same time, there are those who maintain that teamwork is always better than individual work. False: Numerous studies indicate that forced or poorly managed group work leads to worse results than limited collaborations, where everyone works on their own, collaborating directly only occasionally . In short, some jobs can be completed much more effectively if assigned to just one person. But when the activities are interdependent and the task is complex, groups are definitely the best option.

Given the current context of continuous change and increasingly strict interrelationships, today it is even more crucial and essential to know how to manage functional teams and, at the same time, to know how to work effectively and fruitfully in a group.

From this it follows that there can be no team without someone to point it in the right direction. You just have to be careful not to confuse the concept of coach with that of leader , since leadership is in the hands of the strong link of the team, in those who are capable with greater strength, positivism and proactive spirit of making the other members of the team positive. team as well.

Example of a working group

As we have been able to anticipate, the diversity of concepts is well expressed in the business sector. In fact, a working group is made up of people who work together but each with their own functions selectively goes the way , solving their own problems independently. If, on the one hand, the work group is made up of people with different abilities and autonomous from all points of view, a work team cooperates, collaborates to achieve the same goal.

It should be noted that working with other people does not necessarily mean being a team : in fact, a team must feel in itself that spirit of collaboration, communication and recognition of a common purpose that facilitates and optimizes everyone's work.

What makes an effective team?

First of all, it is convenient to clarify the difference between a group and a team. The first is a numerically reduced set of people interacting, with a psychological bond that gives a sense of belonging. Teams are working groups that come together to achieve a pre-established objective, in which the members are interdependent . Not only that, they have complementary attitudes and skills and feel equally responsible for achieving the common goal.

Therefore, in addition to interdependence, there is also an integration process that enhances the group project with respect to the individual and develops the sense of ourselves.

Those involved in team building often forget to also take into account the emotional side , which inevitably has a significant impact on teamwork . Personality quirks and psychological dynamics can cause major deviations from assigned tasks. Because the team is a dynamic reality and that dynamism can deviate from the expected direction, to the point of sabotaging the achievement of the proposed objective.

So that this does not happen, here are the five fundamental elements to always have under control to manage the underground dynamics and make a team effective:

  • align with the common goal;
  • establish the working method of the group;
  • manage available resources ;
  • supervise coordination
  • communicate effectively.

So how do you go from group to team?

"No matter how talented a person is, no one has all the skills to do everything right, even if we can whistle a tune, we can't whistle a whole symphony alone." –MFR Kets de Vries

Teamwork is one of those things that everyone knows exists but can hardly define. Working as a team does not necessarily mean working as a team, as we have been able to see throughout the article. The team arises from an evolutionary process of maturation of a work group.


About the Creator

Míriam Guasch

Hello, I'm Miriam! Enthusiastic pharmacist passionate about well-being, vegan food, nature, animal lover, avid traveler, ecologist. Excited to learn and share!

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