Leading Teams with Care - Lesson 4

What is a Team? Definitions

Learn that a team is a small group with complementary skills committed to common goals and mutual accountability, emphasizing everyone's contribution and maintaining relationships. Teams should be small to avoid confusion but effective. Dr. Sessoms highlights that teamwork isn't always suitable, with individual work sometimes more appropriate. He distinguishes a team from a group, noting that teams are intentionally planned and maintained, involving diverse skills and coordinated efforts.

Rick Sessoms
Leading Teams with Care
Lesson 4
Watching Now
What is a Team? Definitions

Lesson on Christ-centered Leadership

I. Leading Teams with Care

A. Understanding the Dynamics of Teams

B. Creating and Managing Teams

C. Caring for Team Members

II. The Importance of Christ-centered Leadership

A. The Example of Jesus Christ

B. The Principles of Christ-centered Leadership

C. The Benefits of Christ-centered Leadership

III. Leading with Purpose and Vision

A. Defining and Communicating Vision

B. Aligning Team Members with Vision

C. Leading with Purpose

IV. Creating a Culture of Care

A. Building Trust

B. Providing Support

C. Developing People

  • Learn to lead Christ-centered teams by understanding unity and diversity in team roles, drawing from the Trinity, and fostering growth and love, with insights from Genesis and Ephesians, while reflecting on and assessing team effectiveness.
  • Learn about the importance of caring for your team, trusting God with your team's vision, people, and resources, and cultivating Christ-Centered teams.
  • Explore the complexities of team dynamics, discussing the combination of diverse skills to achieve common goals, the challenges of being assigned to teams, the distinction between leadership and leaders, the concept of shared leadership, and the importance of relationships within teams.
  • Learn that a team is a small, skill-diverse group committed to common goals and mutual accountability. Teams require clear roles and contributions, aren't always the best solution, and are intentionally planned and maintained, unlike naturally forming groups.
  • This lesson emphasizes the need for a clear, common, and compelling purpose in a team, ensuring that every member understands, owns, and is motivated by this purpose to achieve effective teamwork.
  • Learn how to care for team members and create a culture of caring as a Christ-centered leader, and discover the benefits of doing so, including increased team member engagement and productivity, higher job satisfaction, and improved communication and collaboration.
  • Learn about team roles using the Team Dimensions Profile tool, focusing on the Creator, Advancer, Refiner, Executor, and Flexor roles, their characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses, and the importance of balancing these roles for effective teamwork.
  • By completing this lesson on Christ-Centered Leadership, you will gain insight into team building, leading with care, creating a culture of care, and balancing results and care.
  • Learn how to lead your team with care by understanding the importance of caring for your team members, effective communication, and setting clear expectations.
  • In this lesson, you will learn how to lead with care by understanding the importance of caring for your team, the qualities of a caring leader, and practical strategies for creating a safe environment, building relationships, providing support, and offering encouragement and recognition.
  • In this lesson on Christ-Centered Leadership, you will learn the importance of leading teams with care, how to practice it practically, the role of emotions in leadership, and effective communication methods.
  • Learn how to lead and develop a caring team, overcome obstacles to team sustainability, and gain insights into the characteristics of a leader who cares and a caring team.
  • This lesson on Christ-Centered Leadership will teach you how to lead teams with care, lead through change, and lead with humility.
  • Learn how to be a Christ-centered leader who cares for your team by understanding the biblical foundations, creating a culture of care, leading through change, and sustaining care for yourself and your team.
  • This lesson on Christ-Centered Leadership provides knowledge and insight into creating a safe and secure environment, promoting individual growth and development, building a cohesive team, developing a culture of care, and practical tips for leading teams with care.

Teamwork is the will of God for the people of God.

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Dr. Rick Sessoms
Leading Teams with Care
What is a Team? Definitions
Lesson Transcript 


I'd like to just put a couple of definitions on the board and have you think about these. The first one says a team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, common performance goals, an approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable. Now, what do you see in that definition that strikes you? Okay. How does that strike you, and what does that mean? Is that important? 

STUDENT: Yes, because that means everybody is pulling their weight. Everybody is contributing and doing what they said they were going to do and helping make sure that other people are, too. 

STUDENT: It blows multiple ways. It's not just autocratic as a top-down. 

STUDENT: It means relationship. 

It does mean relationship, doesn't it? 

STUDENT: The size, the number of people I think is important as well, because if you have too many members in a team, it's not as clear what the goal is and the role that each of them plays, and so I think it's true that you have to have a small number of people. 

So, a church of a thousand people could see themselves or call themselves a team, in one sense, and we won't argue with that. That's not what we're here for. But when we talk about a team within the confines of this course, we are going to talk about a smaller group of people. We're going to talk about a definable, limited number of people. Now, what do I mean by that? Well, I'm not sure what we mean by that, but it simply means enough to get the job done, but not too many that we start tripping over each other. So teams can get too big and too unruly, and they are not helpful to one another in that process. So that small number of people is important. What else do you see there? 

STUDENT: Common performance goals, suggests to me that they are respectful of each other, and they understand that performance goals are made. 

STUDENT: And also that those can be evaluated. 

There is an evaluation process that is implied there, isn't there? 

STUDENT: The individuals and the team complement each other. There has to be, according to this definition, some synergy that takes place in a team. Otherwise, it may be just as good for the individuals to work on their own. 

Hmm. Okay. Well, let's try another one. This is from that famous guy, Anonymous. We've all heard of him. A team is a group organized to work together to accomplish a set of objectives that cannot be achieved effectively by individuals. What do you see there? Like that? Don't like that? 

STUDENT: My initial reaction is, well, given enough time, I probably could… 

…could pull this off. Okay. You know what's implied in that definition, I'd like to suggest, is that teamwork is not a panacea for every situation. There are sometimes when working as individuals is appropriate. Do you agree with that? And so, we're not suggesting here that teams are right for every situation from now on. There are very clearly times when working as an individual is the appropriate way to go. You don't run a foot race as a team, necessarily. You may run in stages. You may do the relay, but if you're doing the 100 meter dash, you don't do that as a team; it's individuals. So that's a very important principle. 

So, we're not going to suggest that team is for everything at all times, but we are going to talk about when it's appropriate and what makes for an effective team. Questions about that? 

STUDENT: On a cross-country team, there are the hurdlers and there are the long jumpers. They do individual things for the benefit of the team. 

Yeah, you're right. So maybe we could think together. What are some contexts in which we would be more appropriate to work as an individual than as a team. Can you think of any? 

STUDENT: Driving a car. 

Well, I know some folks in my car that try to do it as a team [laughter]. Say it that way. Yeah, it doesn't work well when there's two feet on the brake. Right. Other context. Yes, Michael. 

STUDENT: When I was in the Peace Corps, we had a training on how to dig a pit latrine, and we had one pickax, and so one person would be in the hole for a while and the rest would be around supervising, as we call it, and that might not have been the most effective team; one person probably could have done a lot until they were tired, and then a single other could take over. So perhaps when there are limited resources in that regard. 

STUDENT: Well, I think of a dental office. 

I want one person drilling on my teeth at a time, right? Sure does. Yeah. 

STUDENT: In the development of a curriculum, a number of people work together, each with a goal, this is where we’re going, these are some of the suggestions… I work better if, all right, we got these, now just let me write it, and then I'll give it to you, and we can critique it and then chew it apart, but it's hard to when everyone is chiming in as one person is typing. 

STUDENT: I don't think we'd ever get the Declaration of Independence if they were all sitting there talking on it. I've been in schools where you all had to come together and write your mission statement and instead, I was dying because I was like, just let two people come over here and do it. Why are we all fifty of us adding, ‘oh, I don't like that word, and, I don't like that word, forever. Writing, I think, and art, think it’s from the perspective. I think it takes an individual vision to be shared and then, you know, it's out there for critique and work. 

Well, let's try this definition. This is from Business: The Ultimate Resource. I'm not sure who gave that title, but it sounds a bit confident, doesn't it? What is a team? Teams are not the same as groups. They need to be planned, built and maintained. A team has a distinct characteristic. It is a group working together to achieve a common purpose. It may be composed of people drawn from different functions, departments or disciplines. What is the difference between a group and a team? In that definition, what's the difference between a group and a team? 

So there's something intentional about teamwork, right? Interestingly enough, when we think of groups, groups can and often do arise naturally by similar groupings, in other words, homogenous characteristics, people that are like each other and that feel comfortable with each other tend to group together. There's nothing that is planned about that oftentimes; there's nothing that is coordinated; it's not intentional. But teams, in order to be effective, need to be planned and maintained and monitored because it does involve a diverse group of people. It involves intentionally bringing people with different skills, with different backgrounds, with different psyches, with different natural preferences, together to work on a common purpose. That's a key difference between a group and a team and an important distinction as we think about what we're doing in terms of building one. Does that make sense? 

Yeah, it's where leadership comes in, absolutely, yeah. Thoughts about that? Does that make sense? I'm saying that in order for it to function effectively, it has to be intentional; it has to be intentionalized. I don't know of a team in any context that just happens, whether it's a work team or athletic team, or what have you, because it requires these people that would not naturally come together to come together and work together and function effectively. Questions about that? 

STUDENT: In terms of that definition, the team is moving; it’s going somewhere; it's doing something, but a group --

-- That's right. A group can gather for lunch, naturally. That's right. A group exists, is in a space at the same time. That's what a group is, right. How are you doing so far? You're okay with these definitions? Again, no perfect definition, but we're working through these definitions to sort of spur our thinking as to where we're going with the conversation.

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