Team…a group of people working together towards a common goal. Typically the image of a sports team comes to mind. But words like group, committee, task force, etc can be substituted for the word team. Team goals may vary from winning a contest of some type, doing research and presenting the findings, developing something, or simply supporting each other. Sports teams, study groups, project teams, youth groups, book clubs, church councils, families, classrooms, marching band, etc…all teams of one kind or another.
Sometimes being part of a team can be a real challenge. I just learned the other day that a member of one of our high school sport teams has had to be very independent in getting themselves to events, often arriving past the “report” time. I don’t think anyone knew they were using public transportation instead of arranging rides with teammates.
At times, personalities can be the challenge…personalities that simply don’t mix, or bossiness, or arrogance, or work habits, or differing expectations. It’s very difficult to work with someone who takes everything personally or as a negative. Been there, done that. I hope that for the most part we all contribute positively to our various teams…but I’m sure there are times we’ve also all had a negative impact.
Different teams have differing levels of commitment requirements. Could be the team is large and/or relaxed, allowing members to come and go with lots of flexibility. This though, doesn’t work for small teams. I had a girl scout troop for 5 years. At most we had 12 girls, our last year we had 6. Missing 1 or 2 out of 12 wasn’t too bad, and with all their crazy schedules, planning for all 12 to make an event was reserved for the big activities. Yet, when teams are missing half the members, the rest are impacted and disrespected.
Lately, we’ve been involved with a team that has been struggling. Too many members taking a casual attitude in their commitment to the team has been making it difficult for the team to function well.
To be a team, a well functioning team, there needs to be a sense of commitment on the part of all the members. Everyone needs to contribute. Teammates need to be able to ask for help when they need help. Teammates need to know that the rest of the team will show up. Teams are not about any one individual, though most do have 1 or more leaders.
Collaboration has become a buzz word with our board of education. It certainly makes sense for children to learn about teamwork early. It’s a lifelong useful skill to know how to be a good team member. How that works…or doesn’t work…in school will be for another time.
In the meantime, I will try to be a better team member…know what I can contribute, what my limits are and make them clear, respect other members, offer support to members who need it…and I ask that my fellow team members do the same. We are after all on the same side.
On that note…I will always be partial to the Fighting Illini…and whatever team my kids are on.