The concept of “team” is complex because of its scope and depth. It is one of those words that cover a lot of leadership ground. You can’t talk about a team without bringing many leadership issues into the discussion.
The complexities involved with team building make this a hard term to define with completeness. Any definition will simply scratch the surface of what a team is. This is not a bad thing, but it is something that needs to be acknowledged.
This being said, a person can take one of two approaches to defining team. The first approach will settle on a brief definition that will state only the basics of what a team is. This is my preferred approach. The second approach attempts to make a more comprehensive assessment of what a team is in paragraph form.
The previous article discussed these two approaches in more detail. In this article we will simply present some definitions of a team from both perspectives.
Simple Definitions of a Team
Simple definitions of a team attempt to specify what a “team” is at its most basic level, and then to build upon that definition with ongoing development and elaboration.
➥ “At its most basic level a team is more than one individual working cooperatively toward
a common purpose.” (Gerald Paul—aka “G”)
➥ “Individual commitment to a group effort—that is what makes a team work, a company work,
a society work, a civilization work.” (Vince Lombardi)
➥ “Individual talents in pursuit of a goal.” (Unknown)
➥ “A number of persons associated in some joint action.”
➥ “A group of people organized to work together.”
(World English Dictionary: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/team)
➥ “A team is any group of people organized to work together interdependently and cooperatively
to meet the needs of their customers by accomplishing a purpose and goals.”
➥ “A team comprises a group of people or animals linked in a common purpose.”
➥ “A team is a group of people working together towards a common goal.”(Team Technology,
➥ “A group in which members work together intensively to achieve a common group goal.”
(Lewis-McClear & Taylor 1998)
Comprehensive Definitions of a Team
Comprehensive definitions of a team attempt to define team a little more extensively, or more completely. The danger here is that by listing more aspects of what a team is one is in danger of missing an important ingredient. However, despite that danger, these definitions do make a significant contribution to defining and understanding 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 hold themselves mutually accountable.” (Jon R. Katzenback and Douglas K. Smith, “The Wisdom of Teams.”)
➥ A group of people with a full set of complementary skills required to complete a task, job, or project. Team members (1) operate with a high degree of interdependence, (2) share authority and responsibility for self-management, (3) are accountable for the collective performance, and (4) work toward a common goal and shared rewards(s). A team becomes more than just a collection of people when a strong sense of mutual commitment creates synergy, thus generating performance greater than the sum of the performance of its individual members. (www.bysinessdictionary.com/definition/team.html)
➥ “Teams differ from other type of groups in that members are focused on a joint goal or product, such as a presentation, completing in-class exercises, taking notes, discussing a topic, writing a report, or creating a new design or prototype.”
➥ “People working together in a committed way to achieve a common goal or mission. The work is interdependent and team members share responsibility and hold themselves accountable for attaining the results.” (MIT Information Services and Technology)
➥ “In business, a “team” is defined as a group of people who collaborate or work together toward a common goal. A “team” implies synergy, meaning the whole is greater than the sum of their parts. A team may be lead by a team leader, but it may also be self-directed. The essence of a team is a common commitment, because without it, the members are simply a group of individuals.”
G Strategies™ | Growth Strategies for Success™
At its most basic level, then, a team is more than one person working together toward a common purpose. The more simple definitions attempt to provide a bare bones meaning without any frills. This is the backbone of what a “team” is. There is much more involve with understanding “team,” but the simple definitions leave that broader conversation for ongoing discussion.
It is important to understand what a team is, but it is far more important to be an active participant in a team. Being part of a team will contribute to your personal and organizational success. No one succeeds in a vacuum. Besides, being part of a team will make life, work, and play a lot more rewarding and productive.
Find ways to incorporate teams into your success strategy and you will be better for it.