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Team leadership can come in different forms and there are several theories and models that help explain the nuances of effective team leadership. It is critical to identify the differences between groups and teams to form a successful leadership. Understanding the differences between, team effectiveness through Hill's Model, shared leadership, Ginnett's Model, and geographically dispersed teams will all offer insight into: "what is team leadership?" 


Groups vs. Teams

(Unknown, group vs team)

It is almost certain that if one were to examine their life, at some point in time, there was involvement in a group or a team.  These terms are used interchangeably, yet, you are about to learn that the two are different. What exactly is a team and what is a group?  A group is in all essence a collection of individuals who hold the same goals but still organize efforts independently.  While a team is a collection of individuals who not only share the same goals but are interdependent and organize as a single unit to achieve their purpose.  Teams require that all members depend on each other.   Take for example a soccer team; on a soccer field you have two opposing groups. Each groups' goal during the game is to ensure that the opposing team does not score more goals than them. These groups become teams once they decide to co-ordinate so as to ensure that the goal-keeper has sufficient defensive support to prevent the other team from scoring and that the offensive members support each other in attempting to score on the opposing team.  Unless the players work together to achieve these goals then they end up being just a group of people kicking around a soccer ball hoping it will go to the right place.

How do they get to this point? According to Tuckman's theory, all effective teams go through several stages. These are forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning.  Forming is the orientation phase where relationship building occurs.  Storming is the phase in which the team experiences conflict. Norming is the phase in which developing cohesion and behavioral norms occur. Performing, this is when the teams' inter-dependence and collaboration blossoms and adjourning is where the team is ready to either disband or move on to another goal and must perform a review of their performance.  It is essential to understand that during the first three stages is where you see the leadership traits of the team members.  It is often times during these phases that a solitary or couple of leaders evolve.  In a group setting there will remain that leader-follower relationship. However based on team leadership theory, there is no single leader and all the members function equally.  Where one lacks the other strengthens. 

Here's an example of several groups forming a team in order to achieve a common goal. 

(Power of teamwork,youtube)


Team Effectiveness: The Hill Model

The focus of the Hill Model is how leadership decisions and actions affect team effectiveness. As shown in the figure, the two critical components of team effectiveness are performance and development. Performance is the "quality of the outcomes of the team's work" (Northouse, 2016, p. 368) and development is the "cohesiveness of the team and the ability of team members to satisfy their own needs while working effectively with other team members" (Northouse, 2016, p. 368). With that, team success can ultimately be evaluated based on eight standards for success.  


                                                 The Hill Model



The Hill Model cont.
  1. Clear, Elevating Goal:There must be a clear goal identified in order to evaluate performance objectives. If teams fail it is often times due to lack of direction from the leader. The goal should be motivating for all the team members so they have personal drive to achieve the goal.
  2. Results-Driven Structure: Depending on the team's goal the structure of the team can be very different. It is critical that the team adapts their structure to best accomplish the goal at hand. Some examples include, "top management teams typically deal with power and influence, task forces deal with ideas and plans, customer service teams deal with clients, and production teams deal with technology" (Northouse, 2016, p. 369). 
  3. Competent Team Members: Teams must be comprised of the appropriate number of individuals from varying backgrounds. Additionally however, they typically need to be trained in order to be competent team members. It is not enough that the team members have a technical ability to address the goal they must also have "interpersonal skills necessary to collaborate effectively" (Northouse, 2016, p. 370). 
  4. Unified Commitment: In order to truly be an effective team, it is not enough to hold the title "team". The team members must unite and have a common identifying factor. 
  5. Collaborative Climate: Team members need to work together on ideas and tasks and the leader needs to set the tone from the beginning that foster a collaborative atmosphere that ensure the members are comfortable sharing ideas and taking risks. 
  6. Standards of Excellence: Leaders need to monitor and set boundaries for team members behavior and the way in which they conduct themselves and accomplish tasks toward the goal. "The standard must be clear and concrete, and all the team members must be required to perform to standard" (Northouse, 2016, p. 371).
  7. External Support and Recognition: In order to build an effective team, the leader must not only articulate a motivating goal and challenging tasks but ensure the team has access to the appropriate resource needed to accomplish the task/goal. In addition to providing necessary resources, leaders need to ensure they are rewarding team members for their hard work. Often times great work can be left unappreciated or unnoticed, potentially crushing the morale of a team.
  8. Principled Leadership: The cornerstone of an effective team is its leader. Effective team leadership is made up of four specific processes: cognitive, motivational, affective, and coordination (Northouse, 2016, p. 371). Cognitive refers to understanding a problem set, motivational refers to unifying the team, affective refers to clarifying confusing aspects the team may face, and coordination refers to pairing individual skills with task and providing feedback and direction (Northouse, 2016, p. 371).  

Shared Leadership

Not all teams have an assigned team leader. Shared or distributed leadership within a team is one way to maximize team effectiveness. Shared leadership allows for more than one member of team to contribute to the key leadership roles necessary to build an effective team. Some teams may still have an assigned leader AND share leadership responsibilities among the team, other times it will purely be shared. The benefit to shared leadership is that the team has far more leadership expertise due to the diversity of the group. Different people with different experiences can lead when is appropriate and step back when a different member is more qualified to lead. There are risks associated with shared leadership, primarily an individual lacking the courage to step up and lead when needed, however "risks aside, teams with shared leadership have less conflict, more consensus, more trust, and more cohesion than teams that do not have shared leadership" (Northouse, 2016, p. 365).

Ginnett's Model

The team effectiveness leadership model (TELM) consists of three components. The model utilizes a leader, and a group with inputs, processes, and outcomes. The leaders role is to use the TELM to manage the group inputs and processes to improve outcomes (Lindsay, 2015). 

Inputs may be at three levels; individual, team, and organizational. Individual inputs may include intelligence, experiences, and motivations. Team and organizational inputs may include environment, organizational structure, and communication (Lindsay, 2015). For example, a team of health educators at a wellness center can be more effective if the team consists of a nurse, dietitian, exercise physiologist, and education specialist, versus a team of all dietitians. A team with a well rounded background can become more effective than that with a strict specialty. 

Processes involve the group dynamics, and how the group goes about getting to the outcome. Processes include conflict resolution, coordination, and trust. It is important for the leader to conduct process evaluation during this stage, and coach the group to more effective processes, to maintain a quality outcome. 

Lastly, the outcome is considered task completion, or the final product or service, that resulted from the group input and processes. The leaders role is not to participate in these components with the group, but to manage these variables within the model to improve efficacy (Lindsay, 2015).

The video, by Dr. Robert Ginnett, illustrates an example of a group tasked with landing an airplane, and in the end how the leader can modify the variables to improve outcomes in the future.  

Geographically Dispersed Teams

Geographically-Dispersed Teams are being used at a higher rate today than ever before they are also being used in a number of various types of fields. We are currently using one in this class, most corporations use them, even the mom and pop store down the street uses It at some point in time. These teams aren’t necessarily permanently dispersed some may be considered dispersed because people are on vacation and connecting in to work or conferences. The shortcomings of having this form of a team are but are not limited to a lapse in communication, a team also has a lapse in problem solving due to schedules and different time zones. Say for instance on this project one team member is having technical difficulties there is no way to just contact your partners or run to the office next door. The usual response is to send out a help email and wait for a response or call but you are them also working with different time zones and not everyone is at their computer at the same time to help. Also a disadvantage is ensuring work get done you can set virtual checkpoints but when you are face to face this can be monitored by the boss better. Further as pointed out you also can have the issue of a leader emerging in the group or shared responsibility.

On the other hand these teams have many advantages, especially for corporations. For one outsourcing is cheaper for corporations. In this class it’s a large benefit that you are able to work at your own pace and there is a convenience in being able to report from literally anywhere with an internet connection, this is a huge deal for graduate school. Most of the students that are in graduate school also have families to take care of and jobs to handle so the convenience of virtual learning is a huge advantage. Further this allows for a very diverse set of ideas and practices to interact in both the educational aspect and also for various businesses.

How does one ensure the success of virtual teams:

  1. Communication Technology: there has to be some form of platform that caters to dispersed teams whether it’s in class or the work field;
  2. Leadership: “Virtual team leaders must be able to ‘read’ all the personal and contextual nuances in a world of electronic communication. They must be able to understand the possible causes of silence, misunderstanding, and slights without any of the usual signs to guide them (Northouse, 2016, p.376).”
  3. Team Participation: the team must be willing to participate and trust each other without even meeting;
  4. Organization Enhancement of the operation;
  5. Ability of the Organization to capture all the diversity of cultures, languages and people (Lindsay 2015, p.8)


Lindsay, Doug. (2015). Team Leadership.

Northouse, P.G. (2016). Leadership: Theory and Practice (7th ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Sage. 

Team Wordle.

The Hill Model.

The Power of Team-Work [Video file]. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Unknown. (n.d.). Group vs team [Photograph]. Retrieved from

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  1. Striking layout and nice balance Team 5. Reads well.