Do You Have a Team or An Entourage?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Working with other people is a part of life.  It happens in every career that I can think of and in the wedding industry it is no different.  Even if you work from a home office, and have a staff of one assistant to help you on the day of events, you still are in the role of working with other people.  This post is written for companies who have more than three people working in them, but it could probably be applicable to anyone.

Many wedding professionals claim to have a team working for them, but what they really have is an entourage.  This distinction is usually directly tied into the owner's leadership style, which we will explore more later.  Here's what I mean by team versus entourage:

A team has a multi-tiered hierarchy, meaning there is an owner, a coach (manager), team captain and then varying roles.  If everyone tries to play goalie, your team is going to be ineffective.  When a team has defined roles and a hierarchy, they can be a powerhouse because each person is operating in their own strength and giftings.  If the owner is out of town, decisions can still be made because there is a coach or captain, or both, who have the freedom to make certain decisions.  A team is able to respect each other as adults and know the boundaries between being close-knit and becoming unprofessionally familiar.  A team knows the difference between being busy and being productive, and automate where needed to cut out busy work.

An entourage, on the other hand, has a hierarchy of one.  There is one person who has authority to make decisions and it is generally the owner of the wedding company.  People who work in an entourage generally don't have the freedom to express their opinions in public.  You'll recognize them at industry events, because they never leave their boss's side and barely utter a word.  An entourage may appear to be a team, but they are usually nothing more than a group of employees who are micromanaged and come running whenever the boss snaps their fingers. They may each have titles, but you can never figure out who really does what because the owner has their hands in everything. An entourage is generally never given real responsibility because the owner can never accept the fact that their employees could be better at something than he or she is. An entourage is usually in a flurry because they believe that the more active they are the more productive they are being.

Now from the definitions above it may seem that people working in an entourage would be depressed and miserable in their jobs.  This is often not the case.  Many people working in entourages do so because they genuinely want to work for and learn from their boss.  The issue here however is that many of the owner's poor leadership traits are getting passed down to the employees and the cycle of unproductivity and poor business skills continues.  Entourages also lead to burnout, for all involved.  So what may seem to be working in the short term is often inflicting long term, invisible damage.


  • Do you have a team or an entourage?
  • If it is an entourage, what can you do to make it more of a team? (If it is simply a matter of creating hierarchy structure, I recommend reading and applying the principles in The E-Myth Revisited.)
  • How much freedom do each of your employees have within their roles?  How much authority do they have to make decisions without you having to weigh in?
  • Would each of them answer the questions above in the same way you did?

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