Understanding The Teamwork Definition In Relationships
Updated May 04, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Lauren Guilbeault
John Maxwell once said, "The truth is that teamwork is at the heart of great achievement." There is a lot that can be learned from playing sports that can be carried through to the rest of your life. You may not initially see how playing on a team can apply to other relationships, but there are many things that directly correlate, including working with those you may not see eye-to-eye with, conflict resolution, and healthy communication. The teamwork definition according to Google is, "the combined action of a group of people, especially when effective and efficient." But, that doesn't give us a complete picture of what teamwork actually is and how it can help your relationships.
You Can't Do It All On Your Own
A good relationship between two people requires that both people do their apart. This is a lesson that is learned in any team sport. No matter how good a quarterback is, they cannot win the game on their own. The quarterback needs people to block for them, to catch the ball that they throw, and to play defense when the other team is on offense. There's not one position on a team that is more important than another. There are some positions that get more attention in the public eye than others, but it is through the work of each person in their position that allows a team to be good and effective. Even the best player, if alone, would not be able to accomplish anything without their team.
The teamwork definition by legendary football coach Vince Lombardi is, "individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes the team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work." A relationship is exactly the same way. It's two people who are working together and committed to seeing the relationship succeed.
There are many times in sports when you will notice one player on a team working so hard to win the game. They are completely on, and everything that they are doing is right. But, if the teammates who are surrounding them are not doing their part, it is still almost impossible for the team to win a game.
There Is No “I” In “Team”
If you have ever played sports before, you’ve likely heard the phrase "there is no ‘I’ in ‘team.’" This fits perfectly with the teamwork definition, and it definitely applies to relationships as well. When one teammate is selfish, that usually hurts the entire team. When one person in a relationship is selfish, it can hurt the entire relationship. If you want to improve the relationship that you are in, it's important that you are putting the other person first. Or, at the very least, considering their feelings as much as your own.
When there is a ball hog on a basketball team, the rest of the team quickly grows frustrated with this individual. They feel like that person doesn't value what they bring to the team. This leads to bitter feelings and often a divide in the team. Many times, the ball hog is surprised by this because they feel like the work that they are doing is for the good of the team. Instead of seeing how they are undermining the value of other players, they are looking at what they're offering to the team as a whole. Oftentimes, underneath it all this person also thinks that the only way to win is if they carry the team on their back. They’re not placing any trust in the other team members. This is a dangerous way to think on a team or in a relationship.
When an individual makes a relationship all about them or thinks that they're the only one working on the relationship, it damages the relationship. There might be the letter “I” in the word relationship, but a relationship cannot work successfully when focused on just one person.
Great Teams Anticipate The Coming Moves
If you have ever watched a good basketball or football team playing, you will quickly notice something about teamwork: the players are so connected and on the same page that they are able to anticipate the moves of their teammates. Think about when a quarterback throws the football to a receiver. The quarterback has to actually throw the ball before the receiver is in the position to catch the ball. If they waited until the receiver was standing there waiting to catch it, the defense would be all over them. But, when the receiver knows where to run, and the quarterback can anticipate and trust that they will be there, the quarterback is able to throw the ball beforehand.
It works the same way in basketball. If you have ever watched an professional basketball game, you have probably watched the guard toss the ball up by the basket in anticipation of the center being able to jump and catch it for an alley-oop. If the teammates were not able to anticipate what the other team members were doing, then this would not be possible.
When you apply this teamwork definition to a relationship, it can take you to a whole new level. When you know the other person so well that you are able to anticipate what they will need, you're able to move to a new stage in your relationship. This is when you truly know that the other person knows you and that you know them as well. This is not something that happens immediately in a relationship. It is something that takes time to build.
Great Teams Can Trust Each Other
Trust is the key to teamwork in the best teams and relationships. To be able to anticipate what is going to happen during a play or a relationship, you need to be able to trust the other person. A quarterback is not going to throw the ball in advance to a receiver if they do not trust that the receiver knows the route and will be there for it. A relationship cannot progress without trust. There will be a point when you have grown the relationship as much as you can and then hit a wall if you are unable to trust each other.
Many people struggle with this, especially if they have been hurt in past relationships. Trust is not something that is just freely given, but rather something that is earned. This is true both in relationships and on teams. The teamwork definition that we discussed earlier was "the combined action of a group of people." When people do not trust each other, it is very difficult to get them to work together to accomplish something. In a relationship, if you don't feel like you can trust the other person, you are going to find it rather difficult to get to a deeper level with them.
Earning trust is something that happens over time. On a sports team, it happens in practice. Players practice running plays together, so they can build confidence in themselves and in each other's abilities. There is no practice in relationships. Instead, you build trust by proving yourself time and time again. It's following through on what you say you're going to do, and working together through difficult and testing times.
Teamwork Involves Work
Being part of a team involves work. Your team has to work together to learn plays, build endurance, and win games. A good team supports each other, and they are there for each other after the wins and the losses. Teammates usually know when another teammate needs to be picked up and encouraged. And, they know when they just need a moment to be left alone to process. But, at the end of the day, great teammates are always there for each other.
Doesn't that sound like a relationship you would like to have? In a good relationship, two people work hard to know each other and last through the tough times together. They know each other and can anticipate what the other person needs. They know when that person needs to be comforted and when they need to be left alone. And, they can trust each other to do their part. At the end of the day, whether the day was good or bad, they're always there for each other.
That is what teamwork looks like. While you can start working together as a team any moment you choose, real teamwork does take time to build.
Teams Need Coaches
You're never going to see a team that does not have a coach. That's because games are hard to win. Teams need a person from the outside looking in who can see things from a different perspective and build a strategy to help them succeed. In relationships, this person is often known as a counselor or therapist. If you’re seeking to strengthen your relationship or work through troubles within it, therapists like those at BetterHelp are available anytime. This is the person who will help you just like a coach helps their team. They will look for the areas that need work. They will encourage the areas that are doing well, and not be afraid to point out and make a game plan for the areas that aren’t. And, they will help build a strategy for you to use so your relationship can win.
Despite being over 70% effective, 19% of intact couples actually utilize couples counseling, and only 36% of divorced couples sought it out prior to divorcing. This same study found that the primary drivers for this include social stigmas associated with couples counseling, cost, and difficulty scheduling or getting to in-person sessions. However, within the study, it was found that online couples counseling is incredibly useful and eliminates many of these barriers.
BetterHelp is accessible anytime, anywhere – you’ll just need an internet or data connection to get going. From there, you will be personally matched with a therapist (but can choose another at any time if you feel they’re not a good fit for you), and sessions are fully customizable, too. They can be conducted via phone call, video chat, instant messaging/texting within the BetterHelp app, or live voice recording. Continue reading to find reviews of some of our board-certified therapists from people seeking help in their relationships.
“Kim has been very helpful to me in navigating through some stressful personal and relationship challenges. She's very well qualified but also compassionate and caring. I would gladly recommend her to anyone.”
“Lee has a great view on relationships and is truly great at noticing when you're not being truthful with yourself. If you are having relationship issues or issues involved with relationships she's your gal.”
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