Being part of a team and group

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“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” (Ford, H.) Henry Ford's famous quote has mark history, just by looking at his legacy; we can see how important working in a group and becoming a team was for him. When many people hear the word group or team, they may picture a particular amount of people joined in one place, with a particular objective. For many, there is no distinction between groups or teams. For others, groups and teams are not the same. Even though, groups and teams share many similarities, groups and teams may differ in many aspects, as well.

According to Webster's Ninth Edition Dictionary, “a group is a number of individuals assembled together or having some unifying relationship.” (Webster's Ninth Edition) The human tendency is to form groups. Based on Stephen Gislason article Some Readings from Groups Dynamics, “aptitudes and skills required for affiliations and bonding originated with interactions in small groups.”(Gislason,S.) Therefore, groups can help develop skills that will allow use interact either in formal or informal groups, where its members can be either similar or dissimilar.

Based on research by Tuckman and Jason, working in a group is a process that can be composed of five stages. These stages are the forming, storming norming performing and the adjourning stage or also called the transforming stage. (Tuckman, B., 1965, “Developmental sequences of small groups, “Psychological Bulletin, Number 63, p384-399.) The first stage, the forming stage, is characterized by much uncertainty with-in a group. The storming stage in group development is characterized by intra-group conflict. The third stage in group development process is characterized by the close relationships and cohesiveness with-in groups, known as the norming stage. The performing stage or the fourth stage is when the group is fully functional. Last but not least is the adjourning transforming stage. This final stage in group development occurs in temporary groups when the concern of the group is wrapping up activities rather than performance in them.

There are many types of group with different purposes. Groups allow individual to develop their knowledge, skills, and ideas. They also helps cover up each individual's weaknesses. Groups can be very beneficial to organization because formal or informal groups may increase the cohesiveness in the company. This will allow a comfort environment dominated, which eventually will lead to increasing the organization productivity.

Groups are mainly formed around social needs of the people, rather than around the performance in a work place. Informal groups typically serve to satisfy the needs on more personal bases. When an informal group gathers, they act as an opportunity for exploring self-concept and gain support in doing so.

However, informal groups could not only have a vital yet negative effect on formal work tasks. For example, by exerting slight pressures on group members to obey the rules to a particular work rate, may allow gossip, etc., in exchange. When a group gets together, it's to decide what they want to do or accomplish. After each meeting, each member of the groups goes back do what they were assigned and report what they accomplished at the next meeting. As time goes on, it becomes clear which members of a group are reliable or can be trusted. In groups, unreliable member are work around, by allowing them to have a lighter load of work, or assigning them basic responsibilities. This leaves a notably smaller group with-in the group to do most of the work while the larger portion of all the members to pretend to help and occasionally do help.

“A team is defined by the need for interaction among members of a group.” (Drexler, A., 1998, “Interdependence: the crux of teamwork-Tools from the HR Desk-Colum,” HR Magazine) Teams can constantly keep improving their efficiency by improving their execution in five major areas. The better teams execute key areas such as, setting goals, accepting roles, following procedures carefully, and establishing good relationships and leadership. These five components go hand and hand.

First a team must set and understand their goals. These goals will then transform in one same goal for the entire team. After setting goals, each team member must know their expectations, duties, and responsibilities, also known as a role, in order to accomplish the establish team goal. Then the team is ready to accomplish the most important of the five keys- the procedures, relationships and leadership. In order for the procedures to go smoothly, all member of the group must get along or work unanimously. The leaders must be the first one to follow this “rule of thumbs”. As long as a team can constantly keep improving and developing their knowledge, skills, and abilities and bring the best of their qualities to help ease others weaknesses with each other strength, the team will be “unstoppable”.

A team can be virtually the same as a group, but in order to be a team, every member of the unit has to work together in order to reach a common goal. Just as a group, there are also two different types of teams, formal and informal teams. Formal teams are created for a specific purpose. This type of team involves a manager that gives the workers their specific or group task. Usually, formal teams set rules and expectations for the roles that each member plays with-in the team. Informal teams are similar to a formal team, but they don't have a leader to coordinate the task of the member. In this type of team, members are equal and handle every task given to them as a team.

When on a team, the most important elements are the goal and the time frame, as well as the plan to meet that time frame. When working on a team, you cannot postpone or put aside the things that must be done just because a team member is missing. When one individual of a team doesn't do their job, or the entire team suffers, yet is their responsibility keep working on the task. Even is a team has a natural “member leader”, duties as well as responsibilities are a team job, not a solo player job. Team members are extremely dedicated to each other's success and personal development. That type of dedication usually carries on to the team. A team and its member don't only work together in all the aspects of their jobs and goals, but they share the responsibilities that would be taken up by management. This includes functions such as planning ahead, organizing the information, setting realistic goals, assessing each team's performance with their assignments etc.

A team is led by its entire member. No matter what the outcome of a decision is, the team will never point fingers at one another. If the result was a positive one, the team moves on to bigger and better things, but if it was a negative result, it will be viewed as a lesson, and together they will assess the areas where they need improvement.

There are some differences between working in teams and working in groups. Groups are established by individual efforts, but with different common goals. Teams are mainly people who get together in order to achieve a particular goal. Groups may be larger sets of individuals who get together because they share a number of traits or interests. When working in groups the members work independently and most of the time they are not working towards the same goal even though, they might share many same characteristics. People who work in groups are given their particular job assignments without any questions or input on the matter. The members do not ask questions because they might not feel comfortable with the group and do not know how to interact and contribute to the group. (Teamwork in the Classroom)

In group work there tends to be a lack of trust this can be mostly attributed to the fact that not everyone knows the responsibility or skills each one brings to the table. From the lack of trust, individuals might not feel as comfortable sharing their ideas out in the open leaving somewhat of a close relationship between the members. During group projects it is very likely that people will bump heads and disagree whether it is because of the lack of understanding between one another or because they feel threatened by the others opinion or initiative. Rather than concentrating on the result of the project or task group work is evaluated based on fitting in not standing out too much within the group thus there is not much initiative or leadership. (Teamwork in the Classroom)

In group work the tasks the members take on are determined and specified by the manager who decides which person will handle a particular task and what tasks are going to be addressed. In order to work in groups there isn't any particular training needed, the interdependence is minimal and the objectives can be completed affectively without extensive knowledge of human interactions and behavior. In most group work cases the job descriptions are similar due to the fact that they are all performing the same tasks. The members of a group are not graded on their performance and rarely receive any feedback in relation to their contribution. (Teamwork in the Classroom)

Working as a team and assembling one that can work effectively can be a bit tedious. Every member should have certain skills that apply to the particular tasks they will be performing. Most of the time the work is divided based on which tasks are better suited for each individual and who can complete it best. As a team they are the ones who decide who will be doing what job and the manager or leader is there to assist and serve as somewhat of a coach whenever there are any inconveniences. The members themselves identify the necessary tasks that need to be addressed to complete the objective. (Feltham, S.)

Whenever there is a project or task that people decide to work in teams they work independently and make every effort to achieve their personal and team goals. There also is the knowledge that a collective effort is much more effective and productive than an individual one. In team work the members are more involved in the project and feel much more committed to the project and are proud of the goals they have already completed and those other they will achieve through this team partnership. In order to successfully complete the objectives the members cooperate with each other using their talents and experience. In team projects and task it is important to have different views and opinions, this will make the team's results that much more viable and effective. (Feltham, S.)

As important as it is so have different views and opinions, teams try to be respectful and open to the various points of view making people more comfortable and encouraged to share and speak out. From everyone having the opportunity to input their ideas and skills they contribute to the success of the project creating a senesce of job satisfaction and pride. People who uses the team work approach tend to have a greater understanding of individual and human relations therefore they understand that conflict is bound to happen at one point or another. Whenever any type of conflict arises it is taken as an opportunity to hear new ideas and try to solve the issue in a productive manner. In teams there is very high participation from the member in the decision making process, but ultimately it is up to the leader to make the final choice if it happens that the team cannot collectively agree.

All in all, the major difference between working in groups and working in teams is that the group work focuses more on the individual efforts and outcomes of the individual. The work in team places its focus on the collective effort of completing an objective and the benefits that the entire team can receive. One other way in which they vary is the way that leadership is approached in each one of them in teams the leadership roles are shared between the members making it a collective consensus when making final decisions and project direction. On the other hand the leadership role in groups is usually held by one individual strongly set on his ways and the direction the project should take. One of the last and most important is the accountability where in teams the team as well as each individual is held accountable for any negative or positive results. In groups it is the individual who is held accountable for providing accurate and valid work. (Feltham, S.)

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