The difference between ‘Groups’ and ‘Teams’

Do the members of your work unit view themselves as a group of individuals who work independently of one another, or as a collection of individuals who work interdependently with each other?

The following are 6 key differences between ‘Groups’ and ‘Teams’.



  • Members think they are grouped together for administrative purposes only. Individuals work independently; sometimes at cross purposes with others.
  • Members recognise their interdependence and understand both personal and team goals are best accomplished through mutual support.
  • Members tend to focus on themselves because they are not sufficiently involved in planning the unit’s objectives. They approach their job as simply a hired hand.
  • Members feel a sense of ownership for their jobs and their unit because they are committed to goals they helped establish.
  • Members are told what to do rather than being asked what the best approach would be. They are effectively encouraged to provide their own suggestions.
  • Members contribute to the organisation’s success by applying their unique talents and knowledge to team objectives.
  • Members distrust the motives of colleagues because they do not understand the roles of other members. Expressions of opinion or disagreement are considered divisive or non-supportive.
  • Members work in a climate of trust and are encouraged to openly express ideas, opinions, disagreements and feelings. Questions are welcomed.
  • Members are so cautious about what they say that real understanding is not possible. Game playing may occur and communication traps catch the unwary.
  • Members practice open and honest communication. They make an effort to understand each other’s point of view.
  • Members may receive good training but are limited in applying it to the job by their supervisor or other group members.
  • Members are encouraged to develop skills and apply what they learn on the job. They receive support from their team.

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