Friday, February 12, 2010


As we go through life, there are times when (if we are wise) we realize that we need to work with others. Because being part of a team is an important part of all of our lives, we need to know how to do it well. Below I've listed a few tips that I've learned about teamwork from a Christian perspective.
  • Be thankful for your teammates. Team participation doesn't always feel strictly voluntary. Still, whether or not we or our teammates really wanted to work together, we're still benefiting from each other's efforts. Every bit of work that each person does brings the entire group closer to the goal. When we feel frustrated that we can't get the job done alone, we should think about how our teammates are making it possible to do what we need (or want) to do. It's a good thing we have other people to help us when we need them.
  • Useful contributions can come from unlikely sources. Often when we're assembling a team, we seek out the most qualified people for the task at hand. We decide how to delegate tasks based upon our opinion of each person's abilities. Sometimes, however, we can limit the productivity of the entire group by selling some members short. I've learned that enthusiasm can be more important than talent and hard work and common sense can trump intelligence and experience. If we look at each team member generously, we will better see their full potential for contribution to the group.
  • It's not all about you. Even if you're the "star" or "leader" of a group, the entire work of the group is not all about you. The supporting members of the cast share in the opening night triumph, and politicians show appreciation to their staff when they're elected. When I ask friends to help me do something that won't directly benefit them, I try find ways to make them feel like they're getting something positive out of the experience (even if it's just good karma). We ought to show appreciation to our teammates and encourage them to feel a sense of accomplishment when the task is complete, no matter what part they played. 
  • Feel some team loyalty. We shouldn't automatically bail the second things get tough. A team can make it through difficult times that one person couldn't handle alone, but if everyone quits when it gets hard there won't be a team. In addition, each member of the team both gives and receives something. Make sure you're giving something to your teammates and not just taking their efforts for yourself. If your team succeeds, it probably won't just be because of you. Feel proud of yourself, but give them some credit too.
I work in teams of all shapes and sizes, in both my professional and my personal life. Right now I'm working with others to produce several publications at my job. I belong to two musical groups. I am coming together with others to help a friend plan a special event, and I'm even doing mundane things like working with my husband to balance our household budget. Some teams, like my marriage, are small. Some are large—like the staff of more than 500 who works for my employer. Some are intimate and some are businesslike. Sometimes I'm the team leader, and sometimes I just do grunt work. Some of the projects I accomplish with the help of a team are big and important, but sometimes they're just little things. Sometimes I work in a team to accomplish tasks I could technically do alone, just because I find it more enjoyable to work with others.

Teamwork is an essential part of my life. It allows me to do things I couldn't do on my own and provides a different dynamic even to simple tasks. I feel blessed that I have people in my life who are willing to work together with me. It's great that my efforts can be multiplied when I combine them with others. I want to be sure to properly appreciate the opportunity to work with others and to treat my teammates with respect.

1 comment:

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