There is No ‘I’ in Team…But There is an ‘M’ and an ‘E’

February 28, 2010 by
Filed under: Personal Development 

Every so often I hear busi­ness teach­ers and coaches men­tion that there is no “I” in the word team. I under­stand that what is meant by many of them is that one shouldn’t place one’s own needs above that of the team. But all too often some indi­vid­u­als take it to the extreme and basi­cally neglect their own needs in order (as they per­ceive it) to allow the team to per­form at it’s best. This is where the line really needs to be drawn because if one neglects their own needs, then one’s poten­tial con­tri­bu­tion to the team can and will be lack­ing to say the least.

Some­times a per­son is part of a team because they’re told by a supe­rior to be part of it, oth­ers because they’re asked. Still many oth­ers go out and search for a team they can be part of whether it be as part of a job search or a vol­un­teer group. Regard­less of which team a per­son belongs to, that team will never ben­e­fit to it’s fullest by you being a part of it, with­out you receiv­ing back some­thing from the team in return for being a part of it.

Being Part of the Team

We are all to one extent or another a part of a team, whether it be a pro­fes­sional orga­ni­za­tion, a sports team after work, a group of friends who like to hang out or as a fam­ily mem­ber. Why do I say that? Because as a mem­ber of a team, the way we act (or fail to act) will always in some way shape or form effect other mem­bers of the team. We may not always be able to change which team we belong to (e.g. being born into a fam­ily), but in cases of teams we choose to be part of due to love for a par­tic­u­lar cause (a vol­un­teer orga­ni­za­tion) or due to neces­sity (a job in order to pay your bills) we must always be cog­nizant of the fact that each per­son has their own par­tic­u­lar needs.

I’ve joined var­i­ous teams through­out my life and in some cases, it was truly a joy to be involved . In other cases, I remem­ber feel­ing like my life energy was slowly being drained out of me when I met or talked with a team caus­ing me to be almost emo­tion­ally and psy­cho­log­i­cally drained after­wards (I’m sure no one has ever felt that feel­ing before…:-)  ).

Look­ing back, the times I felt good being a mem­ber of a team was when I was able to align the pur­pose of the team with my own per­sonal needs. Whether it be work or a vol­un­teer orga­ni­za­tion, align­ing the team’s goals with my own per­sonal goals was key to the entire expe­ri­ence of being a team mem­ber. In turn, the team got the best from me with regards to enthu­si­asm, work ethic and ideas. The times when my per­sonal goals did not align with the goals or pur­pose of the team were the times when I would feel less enthu­si­as­tic about being a team mem­ber. My work ethic would still be there but the team would not get the best out of me with regards to enthu­si­asm or ideas. Why? At first I couldn’t under­stand the rea­son but later on I real­ized it was due to the goals of the team not align­ing with my own per­sonal goals in some form.

Over time, my enthu­si­asm would become affected and I’d find myself not enjoy­ing being a mem­ber of the team or worse, feel­ing that the team was doing noth­ing more than tak­ing up pre­cious time. Time I could be ded­i­cat­ing towards some other cause or endeavor. When­ever that occurs, you start becom­ing a lia­bil­ity to the team rather than a valu­able asset.

Being True to Yourself

Regard­less of what team a per­son is part of, it’s really impor­tant to keep one’s per­sonal goals in line with the goals of the team to some extent. Doing so will allow the rela­tion­ship between you and the team you’re involved with to be mutu­ally beneficial.

In the short term, the time spent with the team will def­i­nitely be more enjoy­able. In the long term, team mem­bers or oth­ers out­side of the team will more likely see you as a valu­able asset to have on other teams.

So why am I say­ing all this? Because, if you find your­self not enjoy­ing your involve­ment with a team, then it may be time to look in the mir­ror and deter­mine whether you should be a part of the team or if you need to move on.

Rec­om­mended Read­ing


4 Intelligent Opinions, Leave Yours on There is No ‘I’ in Team…But There is an ‘M’ and an ‘E’

  1. Darryl Coleman on Sun, 28th Feb 2010 8:23 pm
  2. I found your site on Google and read a few of your other entires. Nice Stuff. I’m look­ing for­ward to read­ing more from you.

    Like or Dis­like: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  3. Gil Pizano on Mon, 1st Mar 2010 8:53 pm
  4. Thanks Dar­ryl for the kind words. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed them! Best Regards!

    Like or Dis­like: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Louis Pagan on Sun, 28th Mar 2010 9:53 am
  6. I think the “there is no I in team” is over­rated and cliche.

    Like or Dis­like: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. Gil Pizano on Wed, 31st Mar 2010 10:03 pm
  8. I agree. But you’d be sur­prised at how many orga­ni­za­tions still use it as a part of train­ing and per­sonal devel­op­ment.

    Like or Dis­like: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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