Govexec had an interest article calling into question our tendency to talk about our work place teams as families. As the author writes:
"But your coworkers are not actually “like a family.” You’re born into your family; where you work and who you hire involves making choices. And encouraging employees to think of one another as family can have negative consequences.
I first realized the dangers of calling employees “family” early on at my company, when I had to let several people go for performance reasons. These were gregarious people who were beloved by their coworkers, and when their teams found out about the firings, they were absolutely beside themselves. My decision was widely questioned. I realized we had created an environment where the unconditional love and support for longtime colleagues clouded our collective ability to make smart business and hiring decisions. We needed to make a change."
I fully agree with the author's point. Family and workplace don't usually mix too well together. But the author goes on to endorse the concept popularized by Seth Godin of a workplace being a tribe. I understand and appreciate the point but I prefer to stick with the simple team analogy. Tribe sounds exclusionary and implies some amount of us against them. While a team can have similar connotations, it is more fluid. Members of teams come together to achieve goals but it doesn't imply a life long commitment. You aren't completely defined by a team. You are a member while it makes sense and you move on when it doesn't. As most football, baseball, and basketball fans know, the player you demonize today could be on your team tomorrow.