Teams have become standard in the business world. Naturally, academic institutions have implemented team-based projects to help prepare students for the workplace. 90 percent of corporate leaders feel today’s problems are so complex they require teams to provide effective solutions. These leaders believe collaboration can fuel creative thinking and problem solving critical to positive business outcomes.
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The truth is, there are many different types of teams. Some teams are permanent while others are temporary. Some are part of the corporate hierarchy while others are adjunct. One thing you can be sure of is, your career will involve working with teams. Let’s take a look at the most common types of teams in the workplace.
1. Department teams: Departmental teams have been around for quite some time. As a department team, individuals relate to specialty or focus he or she has mastered, with everyone working toward achieving goals outlined in the company’s mission statement. Some examples include developer teams at a tech start up or the sales team at a marketing agency.
Departmental teams are permanent and typically work on ongoing projects or goals.
2. Problem-solving teams: These types of teams are usually temporary and focus on solving a specific issue. For example, after the 2008 financial crisis, several organizational task force teams and governmental committees were created to come up with solutions to help the country climb out of a steep recession. Once guidelines were set in place and plans were formed, the task forces and committees were disbanded.
3. Virtual teams: A virtual team can be any type of team that communicates digitally rather than in person. Easier communication tools allow managers to build teams based on strengths and weaknesses rather than geography.
It’s important for students to master virtual skills early on in their academic career, as conference calls and WebEx presentations have become ubiquitous in the workplace.
4. Cross-functional teams: In most business settings, permanent team members are going to collaborate with other departments to tackle certain events for the company – such a new product launch. In these situations communication between internal departments is crucial in order to address the project goals.
5. Self-managed teams: These types of teams are the most empowered, as they have to power to make decisions. Each team member brings a certain skill set to the table to make informed decisions, complete assignments or deliver services for customers. Companies that implement self-managed teams say their employees tend to feel more ownership of the project.
There are many types of teams that have become commonplace in companies. It’s crucial for professors to not only help students understand how business teams operate, but to also give them the tech tools and data necessary to see how these interactions work in real time. Building teamwork is key across academia and business, so it is important to tackle challenges early on that could lead to dysfunctional teams down the road.