Working on and with teams is something you do every day, from ordering supplies, scheduling meetings to sharing updates and progress. Understanding work teams and how they differ is integral to your job.
There are some foundational truths about teams:
- Teams work better when the team members know they have a voice and can express their dissent and support openly without retaliation concerns.
- Teams work better when there is a clear and known purpose for the team to exist.
- Teams work better when each team member knows who is on and off the team.
- Teams work better when each team member knows their and other team members expected role, accountability, and authority.
- Teams work better when the team leader or the project manager is competent and can coach, support, and gain resources for the team to do its work.
Thinking about the teams you work on and how they differ is important. The chart above breaks down the different, common types of teams, challenges, and opportunities.
The work or the stuff that teams do makes a big difference in how they work and their challenges or opportunities.
- Executive management teams regularly deal with power and influence.
- Task forces work with ideas and plans.
- Professional support teams deal with trading expertise for support and influence in other people’s work.
- Performing teams play. Sports teams play games, theater teams put on plays, and orchestras play music.
- Human services teams deal with people and most significantly with emotions and constant tension around control.
- Customer service teams deal with customers and spend more time with customers than with coworkers.
- Production teams spend more time working with technology or production than with people.
The stuff teams make impacts the team’s character and behaviors and how they react and interact with other teams. Over time, the group’s values will become closely aligned with the stuff the teams do and how it gets the work done.
Being aware of the team, the stuff it does, the challenges, and opportunities may help you be a better team member.