Working in a Team Environment: Definition & Skills

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  • 0:00 Introduction To Team…
  • 0:45 Definition of A Team
  • 1:15 Conditions for Effective Teams
  • 2:35 Team Effectiveness
  • 3:20 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Orin Davis
A team environment is essential to a workplace. A team is defined by its composition, culture, and goals. It is made up of people with complementary skills who have common goals. After the lesson, test yourself with a quiz.

Introduction to Team Environment

Ever watched a good basketball team in action? It seems like a well-oiled machine, with team members making complex moves in perfect synchronicity without even looking at each other. How do they accomplish that?

To find out, it is important to look at the team environment, which is the milieu in which the team operates. This is comprised of three elements: the composition of the team, the culture of the team, and the goals of the team. The composition of the team is the people and skills that comprise the team, the culture is the shared values of the team, and the goals of the team are the overarching aims that the team is trying to accomplish. Each of these contributes to the definition of team and the ways in which a team can be effective.

Definition of a Team

Management research has found more than 100 models of how teams function, and there are a slew of definitions for what constitutes a 'team.' Booz and Co. partner Jon Katzenbach and McKinsey partner Douglas K. Smith provided one of the most commonly-used definitions of a 'team' in their 1993 book, The Wisdom of Teams: 'A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they are mutually accountable.'

Conditions for Effective Teams

While there are a host of major scholars on teamwork, two of the most notable are Tulane professor Greg Oldham and Harvard professor J.R. Hackman. Both have done significant work with Harvard professor Ruth Wageman, and together they have determined that there are five major criteria for an effective team.

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