The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Groups and teams

When people come together, they may be perceived as groups from the outside. But often, they are just people who are by chance in the same place.

Groups are two or more people who see themselves as part of a group, know of their interdependence, and share common goals. They will also have some stable structure and relationship among themselves. The people following a guide in a museum qualify as a group. They all share the desire to visit the museum and have someone leading them through it. It’s the questions individuals ask that will for example impact the duration as well as the quality of the visit.

A team is based on a group. However, it is different in the sense that the individuals work together to reach specific goals and objectives in support of a common mission. Being together as a team allows them to continuously learn, work and grow interdependently. Such teams can be found everywhere, may they be people who decided to share a project, build a startup or win a championship together.

A leadership team differs from a team as it implies that it leads other entities or teams. Consequently, the members of a leadership team each have personal responsibility for leading some part of the system. A system that has interdependence between its parts in the same way as the individuals in the leadership team experience interdependence in providing overall leadership to a larger enterprise.

Joining a group, a team, or a leadership team always means taking up a role and inhabiting the role. When individuals don’t pay attention to the authority, tasks, and boundaries that come with their role or are not aware of them, they redefine the entity they are part of.

It’s not the positioning as a group, team, or leadership team that makes them what they are expected to be. It’s the ability of the individuals to take up the role and build on the interdependence.


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