Teamwork reminds me of an orchestra. In an orchestra every musician is in their own right admirable. Every instrument plays a particular and important role. When these musicians unite for the purpose of accomplishing a synonymous task, which is a collaboration of their individual talents, an even greater accomplishment is achieved – a Symphony! Teamwork can be a symphony, but not without the hard work, sacrifice and input of every individual member. Before we talk about the wonderful side of team work, let’s go ahead and move some of the challenges one might face out of the way:
First and foremost, let me touch on the main culprit for strife and discord amongst team members. You know it, pride! There is an ever lingering temptation that presents itself to people striving to work together and toward accomplishing united goals, and that is the insatiable hunger for individual glory. Pride manifests itself in many shapes and forms. It has to be diagnosed correctly before we can access the remedy thereof. The remedy for pride being true, sincere humility. Humility that flows from a Christ centered life and Sprit filled heart. To possess true humility, I have to die to my own wants, my own desires, my own prideful ambitions. I have to resign from the self-given right to earn praise and recognition for my labors and agree to let others enjoy these benefits on my behalf or simply have free right, without interference form me, to enjoy their own. The beauty of true humility is that once acquired, you are set free from the prison of your pride and liberated to serve the Lord joyfully and without the selfish, self-centered ambitions that kept you captive to envy and strife before. Pride is deceitful. It may produce a gratifying feeling at at first, but the ramifications thereof is disastrous. I have to pursue humility with great urgency. For only when there is nothing left of me, can I become much for Christ and consequently be an effective team player.
A humble team player is one of the greatest assets a team can have. A prideful one amongst the greatest of liabilities and stumbling blocks.
When people work together for any amount of time, they will inevitably, at some point , be faced with “disagreement”. It’s not really as much a matter of “if”, as it is “when”. Particularly so when people on opposite sides of the personality spectrum endeavor to work together. Also keep in mind that teams usually consist of “old” and “new” players and inevitably you may find yourselves, for some time at least, thinking and working from two different worlds/perspectives. This can pose a real challenge. I used to think that the victors in teamwork were those who never disagreed with a fellow worker (that would be fantastic) but now I realize that the victors are also those who have mastered the discipline of disagreeing correctly. Let’s take a look at God’s Word:
“Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” Collosians 3:13
“With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;” Ephesians 4:2
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32
“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:” Ephesians 4:31
“And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savor.” Ephesians 5:2
The harp is not the violin and the violin is not a trumpet. They each have their assigned roles in the orchestra. They are different, but when these differences are channeled correctly, it is the very thing that brings forth a marvelous sound of music. In teamwork, I believe the key is not fighting over our differences but rather learning to produce harmony and productivity because of it. It takes wise, mature Christians to accomplish such a delicate, disciplined task.
“For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” 2 Cor 10:12
I believe women in particular struggle with the temptation of comparison. It is a sin that so easily besets us. At times we might even think it a noble act to praise others whilst living with a deep sense of discontentment and envy within our hearts, but we need to learn sincere contentment with who we are and claim our acceptance in Christ. I love the word of God and how it ministers truth to our hearts and minds. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says: “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” Don’t forget Ephesians 4:8!!!
There’s usually several scenarios that need attention, that can take shape when working in close relations with others. To name a few, it is possible that one may become acutely aware of his/her teammates strengths and gifts and when compared to ourselves become discouraged or jealous that we do not possess them as well. Two is that we are arrogant and discriminate against those who do not think, function or execute things exactly the way we do. Three is that we become prideful and possessive of our own gifts and accomplishments and unwilling to help others grow and gain in the same area.
What to do with all these challenges?? We always go back the to Word: bring them into captivity to the obedience of Christ!! Be a servant. Demand nothing, be thankful for everything. “A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.” Proverbs 29:23
“Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;” Romans 12:10
Here are a couple of definitions on competition that stood out to me:
*Rivalry for supremacy”.
*The activity or condition of striving to gain or win something by defeating or establishing superiority over others”
*To strive to outdo another for acknowledgment, a prize, supremacy, profit,
“Positive Competition” has it’s place in this world, but when taking an honest look at how quickly it can take on a negative form amongst team members, I would advice to have a wise and discerning approach to it.
Competing amongst each other creates fertile breeding ground for pride and jealousy . The Bible gives us some better insight : For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” James 3:16
A team will scarcely be able to productively move forward in their laboring efforts when they are constantly trying to push through the rubble of strife and confusion.
To resist this temptation, one is to be filled with the Holy Spirit and emptied of self. For when we walk after the spirit and not the flesh, only then can we sincerely prefer others above ourselves.
Benefits of teamwork:
“Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” Proverbs 27:17
I have the privilege of working with some of the finest women in the world. I am truly grateful for what I have learned from their examples. Everything I have leaned from them has given me the opportunity to grow in areas I may not have, did we not work together. I have the greatest respect for these ladies ”
Camaraderie and Support:
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
When working in a team setting one gains the opportunity of developing or fine tuning many important disciplines such as: selflessness, humility, patience and self control. I am incredibly thankful for everything the Lord has taught me whilst working as a team member.
Some of the sweetest, most precious friendships I have, grew as a result of working with other women. Some became mentors who had a great influence in my life, and some with whom I have formed deeply cherished friendships.
Accountability. “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:” Hebrews 10:24
“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success. ~H. Ford”