How often have you heard that T.E.A.M don't have an "I" in it?
Without thinking about it, we quickly agree.
It sounds good. It is cute. It is catchy. It promotes or at least seeks to promote a sense of unity. Who would argue that a team needs to act as a whole and not as a part?
It makes sense to try and get everyone on the same page to move in the same direction and to think of the whole and not just the part; the group and not the individual.
The saying, "The whole is greater than the sum of the parts" captures this idea very well.
The purpose behind creating this narrative serves to keep people in line. Whenever anyone gets out of "line" we remind them that "Team doesn't have "I" in it, so you need to get back in line."
We may not say it that way. But we think it. And we make it known through our body language. We frown on their behavior.
Here's why we need to take a second look at the idea that there is no "I" in team.
What the no-I-in-team narrative does, is seek to override, make less or even dismiss, individuality. The moment someone seek to add their touch, their flair, their flavor, they are reminded that they are acting outside the line and need to think T.E.A.M.
Again, I get what those who would purports the no-I-in-team narrative is trying to say and do.
However, every person brings their own personality style to a team. This should not be tempered to become like everyone else. That's a huge mistake.
- Identify each person's strengths using some form of assessment
- As best as possible give that person a role that allows them to use their strengths
- Educate the team on the differences of each personality and how to respond accordingly
- Develop a culture of respect for each other
- Teach them how to listen effectively to one another
- Educate them on how to negotiate a Both/And approach rather than an Either/Or
- Teach how to find agreed upon outcomes using AND statements.
I know this is not something that most teams are aware of. It is incumbent on the leadership to make sure this happens.
The leader(s) need to be aware of what's available - coaching, training, assessments, etc. and be willing to invite the experts in to help them create this different type of TEAM culture which highlights the "I"s.
This is one of my core areas strengths I am able to bring to a team in helping them with understanding personality differences and create a more effective way of communication within the organization or among individuals. You can learn more by going to www.kingsleygrant.com.
Put the "I"s back in TEAM but make sure the "I"s understands the TEAM.
I would love to hear your perspective on this matter. Please leave a comment below.