Different teamwork goals require different team leadership and Team Work
Different goals require different team Leadership & Team Work

Routine teamwork may need to get accomplished quickly

Innovative or complex teamwork may require learning & risk that creates variations from everyday work routines.

The chart below serves to think about teamwork, team leadership & membership in various contexts of the goal. One is not better than the other.

How you approach the teamwork depends upon several factors.
  • The expected time for the goal to be completed.
  • Knowledge of the work & having team members who have been a part of the creation or improvement of the process/goal.
  • Whether the goal has ever been accomplished before
  • The number of steps & possible integration of systems, pieces, parts, people.
  • Use of internal or external stakeholders, customers, process owners, etc.
  • Pressure to complete the goal.
  • Ability to acquire information about progress/regress.
Team-Learning View
  • Teamwork happens in mainly unknown, little known or rapidly changing complex environments. The team must continually learn what’s working to increase + what’s not working to decrease.
  • This may be frustrating for the team leader & members, plus management who wants to see results. Using the Team-Learning view may be most useful in gaining an understanding of the work.
Team-Results View
  • Teamwork happens in known or stable environments. The team can get together & rapidly define their purpose, who is on the team + their roles, set goals, then implement the work.
  • This does not guarantee a quick-fix & the team leader can reasonably control all the variables. Using the Team-Results view may be most useful in getting the work done, without dragging the team into continued work.
Team goal & whether a learning or results based leadership approach is best
View of the work
Team-Learning View
Team-Results View
Team leader’s perspective of their role.
  • Interdependent in navigating challenges & securing resources to complete the work.
  • Is in the position to listen & add value to the problem solving & work when challenges arise.
  • Team is dependent upon the team leader’s judgment.
  • Is in the position to tell people what to do when challenges arise.
Team leader’s view of team members.
  • Competent partners with valuable knowledge of how to complete the work.
  • Knowledgeable of possible solutions & pitfalls in navigating challenges.
  • Operate within separate functions & the team leader is the thinking piece that solves problems.
  • Input is listened to & the team leader’s contribution is the final decision.
View of the work to get done & the goal of the team.
  • Ambiguous & uncertain.
  • The team has an opportunity to try new approaches while learning from the work.
  • The goal is to learn while doing to determine the next steps.
  • Clear & certain.
  • This has been done dozens of times, and it is the norm for team leaders.
  • The goal is to get the job done.

Team Development by Mike Cardus

Team development happens when people learn together. Learning is a differentiator. The organization with learning teams may be able to understand, learn, apply, re-learn and make rapid changes that competitors cannot understand.

Do you have a high-performing team?