Leading people is both an excitement and a nightmare to different leaders. In a gathering of leaders, the question was asked; what do you have, a team or a group?

We found leaders in their response using both words interchangeably and only a handful could differentiate the two.

So, what is a team and is there any difference between a team and a group?

A team can be described as a unit of individuals having a common goal, moving in the same direction and are committed towards achieving that goal through their collective actions, collaboration and shared values.

A group can be a collection of people with different goals, having different values, who do not care about the next person to them about what they do and what they don’t do.

There are key features that must be present before the group gets converted to a team. These features are:

  1. The Purpose feature. If members of the group are unfamiliar with the vision, mission and purpose of the gathering, where it is headed and what it is scheduled to achieve, they remain a group and not a team.
  2. The community or special calling feature. There must be a special feeling by the members of the group that they have been called out to solve a problem which demands commitment, time, energy and hard work on their part. When this strong feeling is absent, the leader has a group and not a team.
  3. Same message and intensity feature. In a team, the members have shared responsibilities, values, same message with equal passion and intensity. When the message is discordant, different and intensity at variance with each other, the leader should know that what s/he has is a group and not a team.
  4. The leadership structure feature. In a team, there is a team lead who has the responsibility to provide leadership. If a leadership structure does not exist among the people a leader works with, what s/he has is a group and not a team.
  5. Role definition feature. When a leader works with several other individuals, where they do not have well defined roles, the leader should know that what he has is a group and not a team.


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