If you are responsible for managing people, then you have probably heard a whole lot about the importance of team building and teamwork. You might have even heard these terms so much that you, understandably, think they are synonymous with each other. However, the truth is that these two terms represent two completely different concepts of equal importance. What’s the difference between team building and teamwork? Read on to find out:
Form versus function. Perhaps the easiest way to conceptualize team building and teamwork is to think of them in terms of form and function. Team building represents form, as it is the process of forming functional groups – or teams – in the organization, whereas teamwork is the actual functioning aspect – or, how those teams work together.
The basics of team building. As previously mentioned, team building in a process. That means it takes an organizational effort. Many organizations pay big bucks for consultants to guide them through team building activities; however, anyone can organize and oversee the team building process, just by following some basic guidelines. There are two aspects of team building – recruiting team members and then engaging the team in tasks that will pull them together. During the recruitment phase, your focus should be on putting together a team of individuals who are complimentary to each other, who possess the skills necessary for accomplishing the team’s purpose. To pull the team members together and help them learn to work as a cohesive unit, you can then engage them in team building activities. These vary greatly, and may include anything from obstacle courses to charades.
The basics of teamwork. It is safe to say that team building generally precedes teamwork. Once you have put the effort into creating a team and helping those team members develop the skills and relationships to work well together, they should be ready to participate in teamwork. Teamwork involves communication, respect, responsibility, and organization. For teamwork to be successful, each member of the team must have a specific function, and must fulfill that function autonomously. Additionally, the team member’s functions must complement each other to make a well-balanced team. All of this is held together by organization. Team members should not only know who is responsible for what, but also what the pecking order is and what the order of operations is.
As you can see, there are some significant differences between team building and teamwork. However, it is safe to say that one cannot exist without the other, and they are both equally important to the overall functioning and well being of an organization.