Originally published December 4, 2023 | By: Dr. Martin Boult, Psychologist

To understand what teamwork means, consider your favorite rock band, which consists of individuals with a variety of skills and experiences that complement one another and function cohesively toward a shared goal of delivering great music. Contrast, for example, a band with enduring popularity such as U2 to any number of ‘supergroups’–instances where already famous musicians form a band–which have imploded under their own weight.

Whether it’s a rock band or a software design team, in nearly all instances the most successful teams comprise members that:

  • Possess an unwavering focus on a common goal
  • Talk openly with each other and regularly assess and enhance plans of how they work together
  • Share responsibility for responding to current and new challenges and opportunities
  • Embrace holding each other accountable for agreed actions and outcomes
  • Make time to evaluate the combined outcomes and impact of their efforts

In some workplaces, there can often be a lack of clarity or agreement between people as to whether they are part of a team or a workgroup. While teams and workgroups admittedly have some things in common, there are also notable distinctions.

Workgroups, in contrast to teams, emphasize individual products and outcomes versus collective efforts.

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