Teamwork – Foundation for success

One of the things that God loves is when there is teamwork, collaboration, unity and togetherness. This has been the principle upon which Godhead functions. In Genesis chapter one we read of Bible saying “let us create man in our own image….” Mark the word “us” and “our” in verse 26.

Gen 1:26 KJV And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

It demonstrate unity, co-operation and teamwork. The Hebrew word used for “God” there is “Elohim” and according to Bible scholars it denotes ‘plurality’. The Godhead worked together at the baptism of Jesus. Jesus was in the water, the Holy Ghost came upon Him and God the father spoke over Him with love. This was the beginning of the physical commencement of the salvation of mankind. At salvation we become joined with the Lord in our spirit. ROM 8: 9.

Rom 8:9 KJV But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

1Cor 6:17 KJV But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.

We too need to team up. God is touched by teamwork among men.

Gen 11:4-6 4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. 5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. 6 And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.

We are co labourers with God

1Cor 3:9 KJV For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.

God’s work demands synergy and teamwork spirit
There must be agreement if we are to work together

Amo 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

Nehemiah building project is a good example of teamwork
When the wall of Jerusalem was been rebuilt, teamwork was demonstrated and it was the major factor for the success of the project despite great opposition.

Neh 4:16-23 16 And it came to pass from that time forth, that the half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half of them held both the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the habergeons; and the rulers were behind all the house of Judah. 17 They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon. 18 For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me. 19 And I said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, The work is great and large, and we are separated upon the wall, one far from another. 20 In what place therefore ye hear the sound of the trumpet, resort ye thither unto us: our God shall fight for us. 21 So we laboured in the work: and half of them held the spears from the rising of the morning till the stars appeared. 22 Likewise at the same time said I unto the people, Let every one with his servant lodge within Jerusalem, that in the night they may be a guard to us, and labour on the day. 23 So neither I, nor my brethren, nor my servants, nor the men of the guard which followed me, none of us put off our clothes, saving that every one put them off for washing.

Jesus encourages teamwork and collaboration by sending two disciples each and when he said without me you can do nothing.
As a matter of fact the Lord emphatically said without Him, we wont be able to do anything

Joh 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Solomon said two are better than one.

Ecc 4:9-12 KJV 9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. 10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. 11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? 12 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

People will achieve more than when work is done individually.
Apostle Paul illustrated the cooperation that is expected in the body of Christ with the relationship and cooperation among the members of the body. He was talking to the Romans on need to serve at individual sphere of work with due subordination and humility.

Rom 12:4-5: 4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

In order to produce proper humility, he shows them that God has appointed certain orders or grades in the church; that all are useful in their proper place; that we should seek to discharge our duties in our appropriate spheres; and thus that due subordination and order would be observed. To show this, he introduces a beautiful comparison drawn from the human body. There are various members in the human frame; all useful and honorable in their proper place; and all designed to promote the order, and beauty, and harmony of the whole. So the church is one body, consisting of many members, and each is suited to be useful and comely in its proper place. The same comparison he uses with great beauty and force in 1Co. 12:4-31(Barnes).

This great Biblical principle is highly useful and effective in the secular world. It Is needed in the family, working place and of course in the church. Let us see how it can be applied.

All employers are keen to recruit graduates who are able to cooperate, solve problems and work in teams. As less hierarchical organizations have emerged with project teams, self-managed work teams and management teams, so the requirements to ‘Get on well with people’, and to ‘Work with and through others’ become increasingly important.

Teamwork involves working confidently within a group, contributing your own ideas effectively, taking a share of the responsibility, being assertive – rather than passive or aggressive, accepting and learning from constructive criticism and giving positive, constructive feedback to others.

The roles people play in meetings as an illustration:

There are a number of different roles that people adopt in meetings, some of which are listed below. These roles are not always constant – one person might adopt several of these roles during one meeting or change roles depending on what is being discussed. Your score for each category should give you some idea of which of these roles you play in teams.

Energises groups when motivation is low through humour or through being enthusiastic. They are positive individuals who support and praise other group members. They don’t like sitting around. They like to move things along by suggesting ideas, by clarifying the ideas of others and by confronting problems. They may use humour to break tensions in the group.
They may say: “we can do this”, “That’s a great ideal”

Tries to maintain harmony among the team members. They are sociable, interested in others and will introduce people, draw them out and make them feel comfortable. They may be willing to change their own views to get a group decision. They work well with different people and can be depended on to promote a positive atmosphere, helping the team to gel. They pull people and tasks together thereby developing rapport. They are tolerant individuals and good listeners who will listen carefully to the views of other group members. They are good judges of people, diplomatic and sensitive to the feelings of others and not seen as a threat. They are able to recognise and resolve differences of opinion and the the development of conflict, they enable “difficult” team-members to participate fully and allow them to contribute positively.
They may also say:
“We haven’t heard from Mike yet: I’d like to hear what you think about this.” “I’m not sure I agree. What are your reasons for saying that?”

Good leaders direct the sequence of steps the group takes and keep the group “on-track”. They are good at controlling people and events and coordinating resources. They have the energy, determination and initiative to overcome obstacles and bring competitive drive to the team. They give shape to the team effort. They recognise the skills of each individual and how they can be used. Leaders are outgoing individuals who have to be careful not to be domineering. They can sometimes steamroller the team but get results quickly. They may become impatient with complacency and lack of progress and may sometimes overreact.
They ay say: “let us come back to this later if we have time.” “We need to move on to the next step.” “Sue, what do you think about this idea?”

Calm, reflective individuals who summarise the group’s discussion and conclusions. They clarify group objectives and elaborate on the ideas of others. They may go into detail about how the group’s plans would work and tie up loose ends. They are good mediators and seek cancerous.
They may say: “So here’s what we’ve decided so far.” “I think you’re right, but we could also add….”

The ideas person suggests new ideas to solve group problems or suggests new ways for the group to organize the task. They dislike orthodoxy and are not too concerned with practicalities. They provide suggestions and proposals that are often original and radical. They are more concerned with the big picture than with details.
They may get bored after the initial impetus wears off. They may say “Why don’t we consider doing it this way?”

Evaluators help the group to avoid coming to agreement too quickly. They tend to be slow in coming to a decision because of a need to think things over. They are the logical, analytical, objective people in the team and offer measured, dispassionate critical analysis. They contribute at times of crucial decision making because they are capable of evaluating competing proposals. They may suggest alternative ideas.
They may say: “What other possibilities are there?” or “Let’s try to look at this another way” or “I’m not sure we’re on the right track.”

The recorder keeps the group focused and organised. They make sure that everyone is helping with the project. They are usually the first person to offer to take notes to keep a record of ideas and decisions. They also like to act as time-keeper, to allocate times to specific tasks and remind the team to keep to them, or act as a spokesperson, to deliver the ideas and findings of the group. They may check that all members understand and agree on plans and actions and know their roles and responsibilities. They act as the memory of the group.
They may say: “We only have five minutes left, so we need to come to agreement now!” Do we all understand this chart?” “Are we are all in agreement on this?”

What makes an effective team?
• It has a range of individuals who contribute in different ways (see the roles above) and complement each other. A team made up just of planners would find it difficult to cope with changing deadlines or plans whereas a team full of spontaneous individuals would be disorganised: you need both types. A good team produces more than the individual contributions of members.
• Clear goals are agreed on that everyone understands and is committed to.
• Everyone understands the tasks they have to do and helps each other..
• It has a coordinator who may adopt a leadership style from autocratic to democratic depending on the circumstances. Different people may assume the role of leader for different tasks.
• There is a balance between the task (what do we need to do?) and the process (how do we achieve this?)
• There is a supportive, informal atmosphere where members feel able to take risks and say what they think.
• The group is comfortable with disagreement and can successfully overcome differences in opinion.
• There is a lot of discussion in which everyone participates. Group members listen to each other and everyone’s ideas are heard.
• Members feel free to criticise and say what they think but this is done in a positive, constructive manner.
• The group learns from experience: reviewing and improving performance in the light of both successes and failures.

What makes an ineffective team
• People talk more than they listen and only a few people may contribute Some members are silent and don’t contribute. They may be indifferent, bored or afraid to contribute.
• Members ideas are dismissed or even ridiculed and their views are ignored.
• There are arguments between members of the group (as opposed to constructive differences of opinion).
• One or two members dominate the others and make the decisions.
• Disagreements are put to the vote without being discussed.
• Some members are unhappy with decisions and grumble privately afterwards.
• Little effort is made to keep to the point or to work to deadlines.
• There is a lack of clarity regarding goals and specific tasks are not agreed to.
• Roles are not delegated to particular team members.
• There is a lack of trust and helpfulness.
• Members don’t talk about how the group is working or the problems it faces.

Destructive or selfish group roles to avoid!
• Autocrat: tries to dominate or constantly interrupt other members of the team.
• Show Off: talks all the time and thinks they know all the answers.
• Butterfly: keeps changing the topic before others are ready.
• Aggressor: doesn’t show respect to others, comments negatively about them.
• Avoider: refuses to focus on the task or on group relationship problems.
• Critic: always sees the negative side to any argument, but never suggests alternatives. Puts down the ideas of others.
• Help seeker: looks for sympathy from others: victim
• Self-confessor: uses the group as a forum for inappropriate talk about self.
• Clown: shows no involvement in group and engages in distracting communication.

You can also benefit by asking yourself some other questions:
• Where do you fit in? What is your role in groups?
• Are you a player or an observer?
• Do you cooperate with others, lead, follow, contribute, guide, advise or just watch?
• Should you take a more active role?
• Should you contribute more?
• Have you a dominant personality? If so – should you encourage others to contribute?
• Good group work, effective committees and successful management teams are based on effective contributions from everyone. Where do you fit in? Cooperating with others is vital for every type of management task!

Conclusion: Teamwork in the church and in secular world are paramount to the success of any organization. Everything possible should be done to encourage it and avoid schism in the body. It will do us well if we could work together as a team. This is a leadership prnciple that must be inculcated into the life of every child of God.
1Cor 1:10 KJV Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

1Cor 12:25 KJV That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

The sense here is, that the body might be united, and be one harmonious whole; that there should be no separate interests; and that all the parts should be equally necessary, and truly dependent on each other; and that no member should be regarded as separated from the others, or as needless to the welfare of all. The sense to be illustrated by this is, that no member of the church, however feeble, or illiterate, or obscure, should be despised or regarded as unnecessary or valueless; that all are needful in their places; and that it should not be supposed that they belonged to different bodies, or that they could not associate together, any more than the less honorable and comely parts of the body should be regarded as unworthy or unfit to be united to the parts that were deemed to be more beautiful or honorable.
There is need for team work in the family, husbands and wives should relate together with their children as one indivisible unit. Decision that affects the family are not unilateral taken without defering to each other. Our language should be “we” rather “I”.

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  • Barnes commentary of the Bible
  • King James Version of the Bible

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