Five Different Types of Teams

Different types of teams prepare an organization for different reasons. In this section, I will run through the five different types that exist currently, and look at some of their pros and cons.

Here are five different types of teams that currently exist:

1. Working Teams
Working teams are teams that are basic to any organization: Marketing teams, Human Resource teams, Finance Teams. They are divided according to their function and they perform ongoing tasks for any organization. Traditionally, majority of organizations are organized in such a way.

Pros: Efficient, functional and task-oriented. Each department fulfills a clear role in the organization. Little mis-communication about cross-functional responsibilities.

Cons: Little communication between department leads to inter-department rivalry. Clashing interests causing conflict. Lack of innovation on better procedures.

2. Special Purpose Teams
Special purpose teams are teams that are formed to fulfil a special purpose or a one time off project. These teams include working committees for a particular event, or a committee that comes together to solve a particular problem.

Usually, these teams are not permanent and they are usually disbanded once the purpose of the team is served.

Pros: Synergistic, multi-disciplinary team set up to achieve a special goal. Members are chosen according to what is necessary; will be essential.

Cons: Takes team members away from their current responsibilities due to conflicting schedules and objectives. Takes time to build synergy.

3. Multi-functional Teams
These teams consist of members formed from different areas of expertise. They may come together for a short term basis or sometimes they’re formed permanently. This depends on the nature of the organization they work in.

Pros: People with different disciplines will offer multiple points of view. Expect innovation and different ideas to come out of meetings. Brings out potential in each individual.

Cons: Only useful for project-based organizations, or for a project purpose. Make take time to build synergy.

4. Self-Directed Teams
Self-Directed Teams do not have a clear leader. They have shared leadership and share responsibility of their work. We do not often see self-directed teams in companies and big organizations; they usually exist in small music groups like bands.

Pros: Members are motivated volunteers. Shared goals, objectives and responsibilities. Good environment for open feedback.

Cons: May not have clear vision. Without a leader, conflicts may lead to separation. Leader is usually determined by popularity more than ability.

5. Management Teams
Management Teams are like the board of directors of a company. The directors or managers come together to deliberate on strategic and macro-issues that affect the whole organization. This function is traditional and an necessary extension if the organization has work groups.

Pros: Important function in organizations with work groups and cross-communication is needed. Able to see the organization in a big-picture with perspectives from different departments. Effective in making things happen.

Cons: May not see what is happening on the ground; out of touch with realities. May turn into a fight for political power if leader does not manage it well.

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5 Different Types of Teams

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