A Team or A Work Group?

I think I may need to go on the record (whatever 'the record' is...) as saying that the term "team" has become overused and virtually meaningless in most ministry settings. Just because you work with a group of people doesn't make you a team; it probably just makes you a work group.

As the leader of a ministry, I really do want the group of people I lead to be a team, but it doesn't happen just because I want it to. I think in order to function like a team instead of just a work group, you need to identify what defines a team and then constantly work toward that goal.

A few characteristics of a "Work Group":
- The end result or product is most important.
- People are specialists and never contribute beyond their specialty.
- Usually has highly defined and highly functional chain of command.
- Trust, camaraderie, liking each other etc. aren't crucial for success.

A few characteristics of a "Team":
- The people and the journey is just as important as the end result or product.
- People may have specialties, but contribute in other areas to help the team when needed.
- Much more "fluid" chain of command. The person "in charge" may change from project to project or moment to moment depending on the situation at hand.
- Trust, camaraderie, liking each other etc. are vital for long-term success.

I have absolutely NO problem with work groups....In fact work groups may be more effective at, well at getting work done! I'm just suggesting that we not diminish what a real team setting looks like by calling every group of people one.


DEX2K said...

so wise

Diana said...

Thank you! I was getting so discouraged by "teams". Now if I think of them as work groups, I think that might help me to have a better attitude and feel less discouraged.

NewJerseyJesus said...

This post makes perfect sense! I've lead revolving doors of volunteers in mercy ministry over the years and never once viewed the volunteers as a "team." Work group, yes; Team, no.

samwise said...

thanks for going on the "record". brilliant distinction...really. i agree the word "team" is overused. if we're truly going to have lasting impact "team" is where we need to go. thanks for offering the clarity.

Erika Thomas said...

Love this. Miss living within the possibility of coming up and having lunch with you guys. Hope all is well.