Submitted Date 11/14/2018

There are groups and there are teams. A group refers to a number of people together who share a common characteristic such as, picketers along a picket line. They are there for the same cause but they do not work as a team toward a common goal. Rather, they come together for a specific purpose. Another example would be people standing around to board a plane. Together they form a group of passengers.
A team is a combination of people working together for a common cause, such as completing a project. The picketers would not be called a team as they don’t have to work together for their objective to be met. The same is true for the airplane passengers. They share the goal of getting on the plane, but they do not need to work together to accomplish this goal.

Groups are usually formed by people who identify with each other and share common interests. They generally share beliefs and principles to work on a common task for an agreed outcome. Usually, groups are joined by individuals rather than individuals being assigned to them. 

Teams consist of a group of individuals with very different personalities and attitudes and these differences have to be used for the greater good of the group. Acceptance and some type of bonding has to develop between members in order to make the team cohesive. A cohesive team will feed ideas off each other using “we” terminology instead of “I”.  Cohesive groups form a team and cooperate well with each other, attend meetings, don’t form subgroups and work through frustrations. This is the interaction you want from your team.  People who are free to express their thoughts and ideas as they work toward a common objective.

Creating a team that works well doesn’t have to be a daunting task.  With a little finesse, your team can become an effective and creative idea making, solution finding machine. 

First Things First
You have an idea and a goal.  What you don’t have is the road-map that will show you how to achieve that goal. For that, you need a team to come together to turn your ideas into workable concepts that will ultimately achieve your vision. Teams don’t just magically come together.  A team first needs a leader who has the confidence to lead a group of people. A leader who is not fearful of difficult decision making or correcting a course of action by team members. The leader has to set performance standards and then ensure those standards are met. 

If you decide to delegate leadership of the team to another person it is important that person has an understanding of people. He/she will need to know how people think, feel, act and communicate. He will need to understand how to best utilize each person’s strengths. He needs to choose team members that share strengths, ideas and those who will have shared excitement for the task. The leader will also have to know how to problem solve, resolve conflict, and administer to the different personalities, egos, and demands for attention.

Effective teams are lasting teams and will work together until the completion of the goal. They will have a good understanding of:
•    The final objective
•    What steps need to happen to achieve the objective.
•    How will you know you have reached your objective, or that the change you implemented is an improvement?


Making it Work 
In the business world, employees don’t start with a shared vision, they focus on the task at hand. When you bring a team of people together it is important to provide a shared vision of the goal. They need to know the end-game and why it matters, and it should matter to them. Find out what motivates each person to care about the goal and then use those motivations to succeed.

1.    Encourage people to do their personal best, and help them to encourage the personal best from each other.  The team will bond in a way that promotes success rather than defeat. 
2.    Each individual is an important member of the team. You need to help them recognize their strengths and contributions to the group and the role they play in its success.
3.    Build camaraderie by encouraging members to be happy for one another’s successes. Jealousy and selfish behavior are not conducive to cohesiveness. 
4.    Encourage the team to build a supportive environment. The pressure of meeting a goal can be mentally taxing. The long hours make it exhausting. A team’s ability to provide support to its members, especially during periods of high frustration, is what will cement them together for the long haul.

Celebrate Success
A team needs consistent feedback. It assures that they stay on the right track, and as pointed out by Glenn Llopis in 6 Ways Successful Teams Are Built to Last, feedback should also be constant, proactive, and improve the team each day. He calls feedback the art of great communication.

Once you have achieved your goal, take some time to know how you reached that goal. Celebrate your team’s success and acknowledge each members contribution.
It is difficult to work under constant pressure and with many personalities. A lot of sacrifices and hard work go into completing a project and when it’s done well, you as the leader will know that together you reached success.

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