This paper will cover several topics related to high-performing teams and work groups. It will discuss how these two kinds of workplace people sets and how they differ in their pursuit of organizational strategy and compare these differences to virtual teams. It will identify the characteristics of successful leaders of high-performing teams and finally discuss why high-performing teams are important to organizations.
High-Performing Teams and Work Groups
Before we can define high-performing teams or work groups, we will need to define the term team first. A team can be defined as a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, set ...view middle of the document...
Teams definitely are forms of work groups, but not all work groups are teams (Brounstein, 2011). A work group is also a collection of individuals however; they may not have complementary skills, a common purpose or a set of shared goals. In a work group, each member is responsible for only their own individual contributions. He or she achieves outcomes or makes their contribution to the organization in (relative) isolation. Individuals need not have any concern about what other members of the group achieve. Within a work group, there is not the interconnectedness and shared responsibility you see between team members. Each member of a group can say ‘I did my best; it is not my fault that others did not pull their weight (www.leadership-development-coaching.com, 2011).’ To add more context to the difference between work groups and teams refer to Table 1 (Brounstein, 2011).
Work Groups | Teams |
Individual accountability | Individual and mutual accountability |
Come together to share information and perspectives | Frequently come together for discussion, decision-making, problem solving and planning. |
Focus on individual goals | Focus on team goals |
Produce individual work products | Produce collective work products |
Define individual roles, responsibilities, and tasks | Define individual roles, responsibilities, and tasks to help team do its work; often share and rotate them |
Concern with one's own outcome and challenges | Concern with outcomes of everyone and challenges the team faces |
Purpose, goals, approach to work shaped by manager | Purpose, goals, approach to work shaped by team leader with team members |
Table 1: Difference between Work Groups and Teams
High-Performing teams have deeper characteristics that separate them from any team with the ‘team’ characteristics mentioned previously. Members of high-performing teams tend to develop a collective purpose that goes beyond that which the organization has established for them (Capella University, 2008). According to Harvard researcher Richard Hickman, high-performing teams must meet three effectiveness criteria (Capella University, 2008):
* The team must consistently produce high-quality output.
* The team must promote the personal growth needs and well-being of team members.
* The team must grow and learn as a unit.
The Pursuit of Organizational Strategy
It is not too much of a stretch to see which scenario is preferable when it comes to pursuing alignment with your organization’s strategy. Those in a workgroup, although maybe tied in roles and responsibilities to the organization’s strategic imperatives, is not concerned about others in his group or department, and therefore has no vested interest in another succeeding.
High performing teams, on the other hand, consider their team as equally or more important than themselves. A recent study of Fortune 1000 companies conducted by the Center for Effective Organizations at the...