How to build a high performing group

Teams are a special form of group, where shared purpose and interdependencies replace common purpose and individual activity. The distinction between a group and a team is often blurred. A group may exhibit some of the behaviours associated with teaming, but not all. Groups in the workplace often describe themselves as teams, because they feel there is more status in being a team than being a group.

Key questions coaches can pose include:

  • What are the specific benefits for this group to be a team? (For you individually, you collectively and for your stakeholders?)
  • Does the team purpose require you to be more of a team than a group?
  • If you wish or are content to be a group, what teaming behaviours do you want to incorporate?
  • What will be the balance between common and shared purpose?
  • What are the accountabilities between members? (How clear are they?)
  • Are your stakeholders aligned in what they expect of you?
  • What values do we want to demonstrate together? (For example, in how we respect and support each other.
  • How will you surface and manage conflict?
  • How will you capture and share independent learning?
  • When do we need leadership and how will we ensure that it is there when needed?
  • How flexible do you want to be on the scale of group to team? (Circumstances change, so how will you review where you are on this scale?)

Achieving clarity about what the group members need and what their stakeholders need can be very reassuring for members, because it helps them define their collective identity and the rationale behind it. That leads in turn to higher team or group cohesion, better collaboration and improved working relationships.

© David Clutterbuck 2023




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