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I in Team

September 28, 2016


by Jeanine Izzo

One of my least favorite expressions is “There is no I in team!”  I didn’t always feel this way.  In fact, early in my team leader days, the phrase helped me take the emphasis off of me and my own learning curve and transfer it to my team members.  This was one of the greatest surprises of my leadership journey.  When I started focusing on others, I began getting what I needed in a less stressful way.  The transition toward me not favoring this phrase came after several projects working to further increase my team’s abilities.

Some team members were in from the start with all cylinders blazing regardless of what I did as a leader.  Others, who were cool to lukewarm initially, got on board based on my actions as a leader.  Then, there were some who required constant prodding to get the minimum work done.  Their attitude and delays impacted the other team members who needed those outputs to complete their work and ultimately for us to be successful as a team.

Since my team and the company benefited most from my efforts to strategize, move barriers and support progress, prodding was not the most effective use of my time.   I was willing to help them prioritize their workload, negotiate with their direct manager, work with them to create realistic expectations, gain approval for necessary equipment, etc.  The problem is, you need to have two people invested in these situations, and sometimes the other person would not engage in a solution oriented way.  [SIDE NOTE:  Contrary to the idealists, it’s not always possible to have them removed from the team (for a variety of reasons depending on the situation).  I do admire idealism for giving us a model to strive toward.  Idealism is important as long as you can overlay a healthy dose of realism given your current environment.]

For a long time, I burdened the responsibility of the poor performance of these team members.  Through additional thought and my coaching coursework, I realized that there is not just one I in team, but many (one for each team member). See, each person shows up as an individual first.  Their degree of training and experience, strengths and shortfalls, desire to be on the team, attitude, resourcefulness, willingness to evolve, ability to communicate and hold their commitments, etc., starts with them.   It starts with each of us on an individual level.  Before a team can become a high performing WE, each of us has to pay attention to our I.

Forward Moving Tips:

 As a start, ask yourself the following questions.

  • How do I show up?
  • Am I blaming or reconciling? Part of the problem or the solution?  Stuck in the past or forward looking?
  • How do I communicate my challenges and honor my commitments?
  • How can I take initiative to have more of what I want for myself and what I need to complete my work for the team?
  • Is my attitude productive?
  • Is my self-talk helpful or disruptive?  How does this impact my outward relationships?
  • Am I taking responsibility for my actions?
  • Have I set myself up to contribute to the WE in a successful way?

The combination of everyone taking I ownership of their area of expertise/responsibility and their part on the team creates a WE environment where we win together with greater ease and fulfillment.

For assistance with moving forward with more focus, confidence and success along your journey,  Contact Viage Partners today.

© Viage Partners 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Viage Partners with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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