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Section 4  Groups verus Teams

           Robert Maddox explains that from the beginning of time people have formed groups. Groups have provided the basis for family living, protection, waging war, government, recreation, and work. Group behavior has ranged from chaos to dramatic success.

It has become increasingly evident that groups enjoy their greatest success when they become more productive units called teams! Managers in many organizations seem content with only group performance.

This is often because they have not thought beyond what is being accomplished to what might be achieved under different circumstances. Other managers using the same number of staff members, doing similar tasks with the same technology somehow manage to improve productivity dramatically by establishing a climate where staff members are willing to give their best and work together in teams.

The following information compares groups verses teams.  It further provides tools to determine what is important as far as looking for an outcome.


·        Members think they are grouped together for administration purposes only.

·        Individuals work independently; sometimes at cross purposes with one another.

·        Members tend to focus on themselves because they are not sufficiently involved in the unit’s objectives.

·        Members are told what to do rather than asked what the best approach would be. Suggestions are not encouraged.

·        Members distrust the motives of their colleagues.

·        Expressions of disagreement are considered nonsupportive or disruptive.

·        Game playing may occur and communication traps are evident.

·        Members find themselves in conflict situations, which they do not know how to resolve.

·        Members may or may not participate in decisions affecting the group.


·        Members recognize their interdependence and understanding of both personal and tem goals are accomplished with mutual support.

·        Time is not wasted struggling over “turf” or attempting personal gain at the expense of others.

·        Members feel a sense of ownership for their jobs and unite because they are committed to goals they help establish.

·        Members contribute to the organization’s success by applying their unique talents and knowledge to team objectives.

·        Members work in a climate of trust and are encouraged to openly express ideas, opinions, disagreements and feelings. Questions are welcomed.

·        Members practice open and honest communication.

·        Members make an effort to understand each other’s point of view.

·        Members are encouraged to develop skills and apply what they learn on the job.

·        Members receive the support of other team members.

·        Members recognize conflict as a normal aspect of human interaction, but they view these situations as an opportunity for new ideas and creativity. They work to  resolve conflict quickly and constructively.

·        Members participate in decisions affecting the team but understand that sometimes their manager must make the final ruling whenever a team cannot decide or an emergency exists.

[Robert Maddox. Team Building: An Exercise in Leadership (Los Altos, California: Crisp Publications, Inc., 1992), 4].

Team Behaviors 

            There are also a variety of behaviors described by Jo Manion that influence team effectiveness and can be noted as the following:  

·        Suggesting and initiating ideas.

·        Being goal oriented helps to identify and clarify team goals which in turn keeps the team focused and productive.

·        Frequently support and encourage other team members.

·        Evaluate ideas and activities relative to progress towards goals.

·        Promotes differences of opinion to carefully examine ideas.

·        Openly express feelings regarding team issues and team members.

·        Makes a decision through a process, which involves openly evaluating options.

·        Confronts significant issues regarding team tasks and projects.

·        Actively seeks and exchanges new ideas, information, and input from others, even if opposed.

[Jo Manion. Team Based Health Care Organizations: Blueprint for Success   (Gaithersburg, Maryland: Aspen Publishers, 1996), 182].