7 Indicators You’re Not Really on a Team

By June 30, 2020Church, Leadership

In my world, the word team is used almost on a daily basis. Most of us want to be in a team environment. However, in my experience working with churches – and it was true when I was in business also – more people claim to have a team than actually do.

There are a few signs I look for when someone tells me they have a team environment.

7 indicators it’s really not a team:

One person makes all the decisions.

Most who think they have a true team culture will skip this one, because many times they don’t see it happening. But if everyone has to wait for one person or a committee to make a decision – it is probably less of a team than proposed. On a team everyone sits in a seat of authority. There is a mutual trust and empowerment of others.

Everyone doesn’t have a key role.

On a real team – all players are needed. They may not all play the same amount of time and they fill different positions, because everyone is valued.

There are multiple agendas.

One thing which makes it a team is everyone is playing for the same objective. Without this there is more competition than cooperation.

Communication is controlled.

Teams share information. They continually update one another on what they are individually contributing to the team and weigh in on decisions. Team dynamics are damaged when only a few people know everything or most decisions are made for the team – outside the team.

Conflict is seen as a threat.

Healthy teams work through conflict and remain cooperative and supportive of one another. Everyone is allowed to challenge ideas and offer opposition.

Every person is for themselves.

The greatest value of a team is in the collective wisdom and shared workload. When teams function more as individuals than as a team, members can become overwhelmed, frustrated and eventually burnout.

Celebration is always received individually not collectively.

There will always be moments where one member is getting more recognition than another. But, on healthy teams, wins are celebrated together. No one claims personal credit for the victories.

Those are a few clues which tell me it’s really not a team. You can call it what you want – could be a group, or an association, or even an organization.

But it’s not a team.

It should be noted. There are times when we don’t need a team. We need a leader who will stand even if alone and lead people to places they can’t yet see but where they need to go. I have found those times to be rare when I have a healthy team.

(If I can help your “group” better become a team, please let me know.)

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Mark says:

    I would like to add two more.
    Everyone has a separate set of work rules. This means that certain people can do no wrong and others can do nothing right. The corporate employment/HR policies are completely disregarded.

    You hope for benign neglect instead of active harm. The former is where the boss does not help you but does not seek to hurt you. The latter is where the boss actively tries to harm people’s career progression by denying opportunities to learn, improve, and succeed.

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