Differentiating Various Types of Teams

There is a big difference between motivating an individual and motivating a team. It is like the difference between teaching an individual a voice lesson and trying to train a choir. The latter present more challenges in terms of harmony and coordination. Motivating or managing a team is more complicated and requires greater skills. The level of efforts needed to manage a team depends on the specific types of teams and their respective tasks.
A team can be defined as basically a group of people that are organized to accomplish common goals. The individual members of this group usually have complementary skills and may have interdependent sub-tasks necessary to accomplish the ultimate common goals. The interdependent tasks and complementary skills or expertise create a synergy, thereby making complicated tasks much easier.
Independency vs. interdependency
Teams can be generally classified based on the level of dependency of members. Hence, a team can be classified either as having independent or interdependent members. A basketball team is an example of a team that has interdependent members. Each member typically has specific specialized tasks based on the overall game strategy. One member can be a point guard and another member can be the shooting guard or the power forward etc.
A basketball team and other similar sports teams are classified as interdependent teams. This is because an interdependent team will have difficultly winning if the individual members will not do their functions and cooperate with other members. Other types of teams, including some sports teams, are classified as independent teams because each member can perform independently from others.
Independent teams have members that do not need to directly cooperate and coordinate their tasks. Nonetheless, the members of an independent team still have collective or common goals. An example of this type of team is a chess team. The team has the main objective to win as a group but they can play chess independently from other members.
Project-based teams
By definition, project teams are temporary in nature. They can be organized within an existing group such as a corporation but their tasks should be accomplished within a specific time period. For example, a computer programming project may require the cooperation of several programmers doing complementary tasks. A project team will be disbanded once the project is accomplished.
Virtual teams
The increasing popularity of online or web-based businesses has made it necessary to form virtual teams. Many companies and professionals outsource some of their works. Outsourced jobs may range from technology-related jobs such as programming to professional-related jobs such as architectural drafting.
Virtual teams primarily use the internet and computers to communicate and collaborate on tasks. Specialized real-time online software programs are oftentimes necessary to collaborate on various tasks.
Multidisciplinary teams
Highly technical, clinical or scientific endeavors usually need multidisciplinary cooperation. A complicated brain surgery is an example of an endeavor that requires multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary teams. Neurologists, anesthesiologists, radiologists, nurses and brain surgeons need to cooperate to accomplish the tasks.

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