The Difference Between Teamwork and Team Building

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The Difference Between Teamwork and Team Building

We hear both these terms so often in the workplace that it is not uncommon to think of them as one. But teamwork and team building are actually quite different from each other.

Let’s start by distinguishing them by their basic definitions.

Defining Teamwork and Team Building


Business Dictionary defines teamwork as “the process of working collaboratively with a group of people in order to achieve a goal.” Working in a team urges people to come together and collaborate keeping aside their personal conflicts.

Team Building

The same dictionary terms team building as the “ability to identify and motivate individual employees to form a team that stays together, works together, and achieves together.”

Teamwork And Team Building- Form Versus Function

While team building involves the formation of groups to achieve goals, teamwork refers to the coming together of team members by bringing their individual skills and uniting them to achieve a common goal.

Team building usually precedes teamwork as it involves choosing people from different departments or from within the same department. Team leaders try to form groups who can complement each other’s strengths and help each other’s weaknesses.

What Is Team Building?

A team is a group of people who come together to achieve a common goal. The main task is to select these people and combine them into forming high performing teams. The team leader should select employees with diverse talents and experiences so they can elevate each other’s performance.

Team building deals with two main aspects- recruiting people from same or different teams and then engaging them in activities to achieve results.

Now, managers can recruit teams by interviewing them or selecting them strategically based on past performances and experiences. To engage them in activities which can boost their professional and at the same time resolve conflicts, you can conduct team building activities. Further, you can also opt for conducting virtual team building activities if you have remote teams.

Team building activities improve teamwork and encourage teams to work as a unit. These games can range from fun charades to scavenger hunts.


Boost Morale

A survey done by C&IT/Center Parcs on event managers found that more than 80% of them conduct team-building activities to “boost morale and motivation.”

To ensure high team performance, every member of the team should feel motivated and confident in their team members and goals to achieve it. Team building activities helps employees feel a sense of shared purpose which inspires them to achieve the task at hand and do it perfectly.

Increase Employee Retention

This was the second most popular reason cited by professionals to conduct these activities which are an outlet for effective team building. They said that because employees feel a boost in their morale and motivation to succeed, they start enjoying their work. This translates to fulfilled expectations from their work which on a large scale can lead to improved company culture. Therefore causing employees no reason to leave their jobs.

Improve Employee Engagement

In a workplace, you have to work with people. And when your employees can have a team with whom they can exchange ideas and achieve their targets, they start getting invested in the organisation and its people. They will care about the success of the organisation because they will feel as a part of a team, of something bigger than themselves. This will eventually lead to high motivational teams who feel attached to their organisation and work hard to achieve their goals.

What Is Teamwork?

In team building, you form groups and help team members to acquire the knowledge and skills required to fulfill a responsibility. Once the groups are made and team members have the required skills and experiences, they are ready to contribute to teamwork.

Related: 7 Progressive Tips to Improve Teamwork In The Workplace

For teams to succeed, they need teamwork and the readiness to accept each other. As legendary baseball player Babe Ruth rightly said,

“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.”

For members to work as a team, they need to function through teamwork’s necessary vital organs. These important aspects are-

  • Defined roles and responsibilities
  • Strong internal communication
  • Mutual respect
  • Accepting people with diverse opinions
  • Holding discussions before arriving at a consensus
  • Involving everyone in decision making processes
  • Giving everyone the freedom and autonomy to fulfill their functions
  • Strong leadership skills
  • Having the required skills and ability to come up with innovative ideas
  • Being accountable and responsible for their actions


Problem Solving

Diverse opinions and ideas, if harnessed properly, can solve even the most complex set of problems.

There are several teamwork strategies you can utilize to practice problem solving with the members of your team. Teamwork aims to achieve thorough problem solving because it believes that diverse ideas when combined together can lead to effective problem solving. Working in a team exposes people to new ideas, perspectives and learn new problem-solving methods. This also encourages people to share their opinions on matters, improve communication and can actually regulate more collaboration.

Encourage Cooperation

Working in a team requires people to work towards a common goal. This can only be achieved when they give each other a chance to portray their individual expertise. Teamwork’s objective is to help employees learn skills like patience, trusting each other, listening and trying to find common ground. These skills will only help team members to open up to each other and participate in the completion of their function.

Related: 50 Effective Teamwork Quotes To Spur Unity & Collaboration

Improve Team Productivity

When you make a group of skilled people strive towards achieving the same thing, you can get more done in less time. There can be many tasks which are too complex or time-consuming to be undertaken by a single employee. But when you assign these tasks to a group, they can divide it among themselves and strategize the best possible way to complete it. This saves time, enhances individual performance and increases the team’s overall productivity.


While there is a visible difference between teamwork and team building, one cannot exist without the other. To build successful teams, you need to recruit people who complement each other’s differences and engage in activities which boost qualities like communication, cooperation and collaboration.

This article is written by Shreya Dutta who is a content writer and marketer at Vantage Circle. She is passionate about all things literature and entrepreneurship. To get in touch, reach out to