Are You a Real Team?

This past weekend I read Jon Gordon’s excellent book The Power of a Positive Team.  In one section of the book, he lists some specific differences between being a team and being on a team.  As you read through this excerpt evaluate your teams – family, workplace, organization, church, sports team – to see how they’re doing.



Many people think that just because they are on a team, they are part of a real team.  That isn’t the case.  Being on a team doesn’t make you a team.  Being a real team is what makes a group of people into a team.  Consider the following:

  • People who are just on a team focus on their own goals.
  • People who part of a real team focus on team goals first and their individual goals second.


  • Individuals just on a team are committed to getting better and improving themselves.
  • Individuals who are part of a real team are not only committed to self-improvement, but they are also committed to making each other and the team better.


  • People just on a team think about how the team can serve their desires.
  • People who are part of a real team desire to serve the team.


  • When people are just on a team, communication isn’t a priority.
  • When people are a real team, communication is essential to build trust, commitment, and teamwork.


  • On a team, each individual’s time is more important than the team.
  • A real team member makes time with the team a priority.


  • On a team, trust, love, and respect are not often discussed or cultivated.
  • A real team focuses on building trust, sharing love, and showing respect.


  • On a team, people fight, which hurts the team because members don’t have love and trust.
  • On a real team, members also fight, but the fighting makes the team stronger because they have trust and love.  They grow from their disagreements.


  • On a team, not everyone is on the bus.
  • On a real team, everyone is on the bus and with a shared vision, focus, and purpose.


  • On a team, there’s a lack of leadership.
  • On a real team, there are strong leaders who develop other leaders.


  • People just on a team have egos and want to be great.
  • People who are part of a real team also have egos and want to be great, but they give up their egos to serve their team and a bigger cause in order to be truly great.

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