This is a guest post by Sean Glaze from Great Results Team Building.
Coaches, managers, teammates and co-workers have all heard and likely even parroted to other people for years that “there is no I in TEAM.” But the reality is that every team truly IS made up of individuals.
And it is the knowledge that ALL teams begin as a collection of individuals that helps great leaders create successful teams. Successful coaches, managers, coworkers and teammates become successful team leaders when they accept that there is a huge difference between a group and a team.
Groups (or crowds) are not necessarily teams.
A group is a collection of people who are simply together in the same area, while a team is a cohesive group who contribute diverse skills and resources to accomplish a compelling common goal.
Wearing the same uniform or being employed by the same company does not make a group more productive or successful as a team.
Teamwork, like most anything else, rarely happens by accident. Teamwork is a skill that must be developed.
You have likely heard an acronym for TEAM that suggests “together everyone achieves more.” But that is NOT always true! Together, people may sometimes struggle to agree on a goal, or hold onto grudges, or communicate poorly, or refuse to accept roles, or simply lack quality leadership.
If you want to build a stronger TEAM, and would appreciate a more realistic acronym, you must begin with the understanding that those “I’s” that your group consists of all bring four important things with them. Each group, when they first form, consists of individuals who each have their own:
Each group member has a specific strength or skill that can benefit your group. You will need to help them focus on and contribute their talents. It is the willingness of each member to contribute what they do well (and allow others to share their strengths as well) that will determine mu of your team’s potential for success.
Each group member brings a set of expectations and assumptions – both about him/herself and about the others that are part f the group based on previous experiences. Those expectations and assumptions must be identified, challenged, and often modified to get everyone on the same page about clarifying goals and then clarifying who needs to do what and why.
Each group member also brings a level of enthusiasm or cynicism to the team. As a leader, it is important to recognize possible negative attitudes and either remove them or remedy them by inspiring a greater sense of ownership. Energy and enthusiasm are a choice each member makes, regardless of circumstances, and you want to surround yourself with people who choose to remain positive and energetic.
Each group member brings, perhaps most importantly, their own separate reasons WHY they want to be part of the group. As a leader, you should not assume that they are there to accomplish the same things for the same reasons that are important to you. Be mindful that finding their why, and connecting the team’s successful achievement to their individual needs or desires, is a powerful and important part of any leadership role.
Team development requires that leaders begin the team building process by recognizing the four things that every “I” on the team will bring to the group, and then communicate well enough that everyone eventually buys into working to reach the same destination – even if their motivations are not all the same.
Leadership is not by position or information; it is by passion and influence! It is your job as a leader to encourage and inspire those talents and personalities to row together in the same direction with the same purpose.
Yes, there truly is an “I” in team – but each of those individuals in a group can become a team when they accept that tremendous benefits come from being a small part of something larger and more significant than themselves!
If your team has too many I’s that have not yet become a more cohesive and effective TEAM, it would be my pleasure to help you get everyone on the same page and rowing in the same direction. Contact me to discuss how a full or half day team building event or an interactive message from a fun team building speaker can inspire the team development you desire.