Namesake Teams vs Real Teams

Some organizations use the word Team to describe a group of people working on a single task. For example, a sales team might consist of a lot of salespersons who have been given a similar task of getting sales done. However, the salespersons themselves might rarely interact with one another as a team as their work can largely be done independently and they work in different territories.


Such people might be operating independently of one another, yet the management would still prefer to club all of them under Sales Team, as it makes their task easier when it comes to sharing information and collecting feedback. When they send a mass mailer saying “There’s a meeting at 4 with the Sales Team”, they expect all salespersons to gather in the meeting room, and not the accounts people.

In contrast, a real team has a group of people who work in synergy with one another on one common goal. In such teams, the entire team is a collection of people who complement one another, where one’s deficient skills will be filled up by someone else’s expertise in the same domain. They are a cohesive unit and rarely will be able to deliver the same degree of quality when working as individuals.

In addition to the working style and interdependency of the teammates, there are further differences between a namesake team and a real team, such as −

●      Namesake Teams

●      Real Teams

Let us now discuss the differences of these two teams in detail.

Namesake Teams

●      Only managers have the authority to set goals.

●      A manager assigns work to team members individually.

●      Team members are answerable for only their own performances.

●      Meetings held on one-to-one basis between manager & team member.


Real Teams                                            

●      Team can set internal goals

●      The whole team takes the responsibility for the final work

●      Manager assigns tasks to the team as a whole, not individually

●      Feedback mostly held on one-to-many basis between team members

Real Team

In addition to these differences, there is also another very important difference between the operational styles of these two teams: that of conflict.

●      In namesake teams, there are very less chances of conflict because everyone works independently, reports directly to the manager on a one-one basis, and works on separate territories. Until this happens, there’s no reason for any internal conflict.

●      On the other hand, conflicts are frequent between members in a real team, primarily because every performer will be held accountable for everyone else’s performance. Most of the conflict comes from the different approaches and ideas and finding out the one approach that will work for the entire team. Fortunately, such conflicts are resolved in some time and are considered normal, even healthy by the management.


Depending on the kind of team that you are supervising, you need to be flexible with your managerial methods and skills. For example, if you are supervising the performance of a real team, then you need to work with them closely and collect a daily or weekly report of their progress as a team.

The same, however, can’t be practiced in the case of a namesake team, where team meetings don’t need the complete attendance of all the members. Performances are also largely individual in scope, so there is no need of asking all of them to attend a meeting on performances.

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