When it comes to leadership our competence is not only based on well-founded, theoretical knowledge, but we can also draw on a wealth of experience gained over the years as to how leadership is lived and how it is perceived, what successful leadership looks like and how leadership can go wrong. We purposefully work across all hierarchy levels to learn and be able to assess the needs, problems and concerns of employees as well as team leaders and senior executives.
“How do you see yourselves? Are you a group or a team?” We often ask that in workshops and the indignant reply frequently is, “A team, of course!”. But what makes a group different from a team? Is one of them better or worse? And how much truth lies in the rather sarcastic definition of teamwork as “the art of distributing work so that none will be left for yourself”?
In our view a group consists of more than two persons who have a similar working style, whereas a team comprises two or more persons who work hand in hand, i.e. people who work on overlapping projects or projects that build on one another.
It’s the company that decides on the structure of the work organisation and whether people work in groups or teams. There are various reasons why executives may prefer a corporate group structure to a corporate team structure or vice versa. Working in teams is in line with the zeitgeist. Various analyses have revealed that workplace satisfaction rises in proportion to the level of responsibility/ accountability and self-organisation people enjoy. The 80s and 90s saw what is known as TAGs (partially autonomous groups). The current trend is the formation of so-called SOTs (self-organised teams). Corporate matrix organisation strives to combine both and integrate them across specialist and functional lines. Though there is no better or worse, there is a team or group that performs better or worse (the art of distributing work), which in turn is closely linked to the way people communicate with each other, the processes in place, trust in the leader and many other factors.
The soft skills training we have conducted at companies (groups) and our many years of experience in both workshop (teams) and large event moderation as well as in mediation and change process support – be it change processes affecting the company as a whole or departments – have provided us with a broad understanding of what makes a team/group tick.