A team is a group of people who work together toward a common purpose or goal. According to the online Encyclopedia of Business, 2nd edition, there are six basic types of teams. These include informal, traditional, self-directed, leadership, problem solving and virtual teams. Each specific type of team requires its own individual type of teamwork to achieve success.

Informal vs. Traditional

Informal teams are typically formed for social purposes as opposed to the tradition team that is formed with a specific work process or goal in mind. One example of an informal team would be a group of co-workers who meet informally over lunch breaks to discuss problems with the work environment. Although this type of teamwork is formed without a formal structure, it can be extremely effective when team members are dedicated to achieving a common purpose. Conversely, traditional work teams are highly structured and are sometimes confused with the work group. Teamwork can be difficult to establish within a traditional team without the identification of a common purpose to which all workers can agree and commit.

Self-Directed Teams

The self-directed team is a team that defines its own common purpose or goals and then works together to achieve those goals. In such a team, workers tend to be more enthusiastic and will develop a greater sense of camaraderie than within a traditional team. This type of teamwork creates a shared sense of responsibility among team members as well as encouraging a greater sense of loyalty to the organization. Self-directed teamwork also fosters innovation and creativity.

Leadership and Problem Solving

Leadership teamwork is one type of teamwork that is essential to both the leadership team and the problem solving team. Leadership teams typically consist of a group of managers or other organizational leaders who are brought together with the purpose of encouraging teamwork between departments and units within an organization. Problem solving teams are similar to leadership teams in that they bring together leaders from varying units to work together to solve an organizational problem. In order for leadership and problem solving teamwork to be effective, it is essential that the cost to the individual team member of not engaging in active teamwork be greater than the cost of working together.

Virtual Teams

The evolution of technology to include software and multimedia options that encourage organizations to expand over greater geographic distances has also led to a rise in the use of virtual teams. Virtual teams may also be traditional, self-direct or leadership teams. One challenge of this type of teamwork is the increased need for accountability when dealing with team members who may never meet face to face. However, when virtual teams successfully manage communication needs, they provide a valuable contribution to increasingly global organizations.