Thoughts on “Team”

Your personal life. Your professional life. At work, your development team is your professional family.

What makes a great team?

The head of the team is, in many respects, the head of the family. That person has the responsibility to nurture the members of the team, to protect, and above all to provide leadership. Just like a family, the members of a team are all at different points in their life, their career. They each have different needs and different goals.

Like families, teams can be small, or big. A development shop of one is like a family of one. When that is the case, the development officer may look to the organization as a whole to create a family, just as the single person looks outside to create theirs.

Not every team is great. Some, sadly, are dysfunctional, just like families can be. But every team has the potential to be great and when that happens, perhaps once or twice in your career, it is very special indeed.

Members of great teams genuinely care for one another. You rarely hear, “That’s not my job.” Team members may not necessarily be drinking buddies (actually, it’s better if you’re not), but you hear “good morning” and “have a good night!” a lot in the offices of great teams. Birthdays are noted with a card and a smile. Low points are noted with empathy. Do members of great teams have disagreements? Bumps in the road? Of course they do, just like families do. But great teams know that will happen and when it does, the bumps are addressed and smoothed out.

Great teams have little customs, little traditions. Not everything is top-down. The great team has all the characteristics you would expect to find. Respect for one another. People who are genuinely nice and who work at it.

The one big difference between a family and a team; team members know they each have a job to do. The success of the team depends in large part on how seriously each person takes their own responsibility to the success of the team, not just their own personal success.

You need to hold up your end of the deal.

So, it’s not only how you relate to the other members of your team but how you regard your own work, and how that work contributes to the success of the team.

The second big difference between a family and a team? You don’t have to love your team. But you do have to respect them. If you don’t, it shows through everything.

Members of great teams respect one another.