There is No "I" in TEAM…or is There?

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There is a well-known quotation that says “There is no “I” in team.” After all, team is spelled  TEAM. One catalog for team building materials uses TEAM to mean “Together Everyone Achieves More.”

In real life though, quotes, mugs and posters don’t automatically lead to a team working the way a couple of employees of a local firm described their team to me, as running “like a machine.” It takes time, effort, and understanding to truly relate as a team. Because of that, yes, there is an “I” in team, because teamwork starts with YOU.

Teams are only as good as the individuals that make them up. Yes, the whole is greater than the parts, but if the parts are defective, the team will be affected. (Hey, that sounds like another quip! “Parts Defective Means Teams Affected.” Where’s my button machine?)

[Tweet “Parts defective means teams affected.”]

So, the place to start with team building is you. Here’s an assessment to help you determine what type of a team player you really are.

  • Do I enjoy working with other people? (Some personalities would rather be in a corner doing tasks all day.)
  • When I meet with other team members, do I contribute to the conversation? (Or do you sit and say nothing?)
  • When I share my ideas, do I limit my words so others can contribute too?
  • Do I want people to carry out my idea in exactly the way I envision it?
  • Am I willing to ask questions to learn from others with a different expertise that I  have?
  • If I’m naturally a take-charge person, do I encourage those less inclined to exercise leadership skills too?
  • Do I feel I am more experienced than the others on my team and they should listen to me most of the time?
  • Do I note what is going on with others by truly listening, acknowledging events like birthdays or accomplishments?
  • Am I quick (but not insincere) in giving thanks an praise to others in the way they would most enjoy?
  • Do people come to me to ask for help? Am I approachable?

If you are really brave, after answering these questions, give them to your coworkers to answer anonymously on your behalf. Do the answers match up? Be prepared to make changes without defensiveness if something surprising is revealed to you. In the long run, that will be for your good and the good of the team.

[callout]Don’t be jealous or proud, but be humble and consider others more important than yourselves. (CEV) [biblegateway passage=”Philippians 2:3″][/callout]


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