The Importance of Family Teamwork - MetroFamily Magazine
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The Importance of Family Teamwork

by Ann E. Benjamin

Teamwork has been on the top of my mind for the last few months as I have had the opportunity to administer several business training sessions about the subject. I have been trying to fine-tune the theory behind teams and the practicality of how teams work.

The definition of a team is “more than one person working together toward a common goal.” The dictionary makes it sound easy, but teamwork in a family can be extremely difficult. A successful family has a myriad of goals which may include things like raising children to be successful adults, educating all members of the family team, providing spiritual growth opportunities, balancing finances and learning about responsible money management, building and maintaining healthy relationships, keeping the family team safe, tackling good health through physical exercise and nutrition, handling medical necessities—and this is just a sampling.

Relly Nadler outlined the core ingredients of a team in his article “Teamwork is an Unnatural Act” (businessexpertwebinars.com/content/ view/636/29/). These business team tips are also helpful for family teams, worship teams, community teams and sports teams.

  • Shared Vision. What is required of the members of this family, and why?
  • Trust among members. Admit mistakes and keep promises to improve team strength.
  • Established expectations and guidelines. Clearly state the responsibilities of each family member.
  • Communication skill and conflict resolution. Set up guidelines for communication and allow all members to express thoughts and opinions; practice active listening skills.
  • Personal leadership. Parents need to be aware that each team member is an individual and may require a different engagement style. Individuals need to be responsible for their own areas.
  • Appreciation of differences. Listen to the family team members when they suggest alternative or new ways of accomplishing goals. Value each team member for their own strengths and skills.
  • Accountability and consequences. Clearly define was is expected of each team member and the resulting consequences if and when goals are not met.
  • Mentoring others. Each member of your family team has something valuable to teach the other team members.

Family teams form the first interaction for our children, and the skills learned in the family team setting will help to lead to success in the other teams encountered in life. I recently inventoried some of the teams that I have been a part of and realized some of the life-altering lessons that have stayed with me throughout my life.

Take a moment to think about your family team. How is the team functioning? What can be improved? How are you providing leadership for your team? Develop your own team skills and those of your family members and together you’ll be able to step into the future with confidence.

Ann Benjamin, M.Ed., L.P.C. is a counselor in The Counseling and Consulting Offices at Stonebridge (ccoffices.com). She would like to thank her family and office for recognizing the value of teamwork and going the distance!