Teams or many I’s working together?

It is very interesting to hear many trainers, managers and team “leaders” quoting the old adage of “there is no I in TEAM”.

I personally do not believe in this maxim or philosophy as the teams I have been involved in or observed are in fact a whole bunch of I’s that work as individuals but towards a common goal or purpose.

To assume that the members of a group wanting to achieve something must suddenly lose their own individual identity and become like the others (a mass cloning session) is a major fault in most teams that cannot seem to get it together and achieve or exceed the results expected.

Each Individual making up the team has his or her own unique set of skills to bring to the final result. They should be encouraged to display their own individual talents, knowledge and skill to the betterment of the task at hand and not try and become some amorphous mass that must fit into the mould of the rest.

My experience has been that where members are allowed to excel at their own skills and make individual contributions towards the end result one gets better results than when everybody tries to do the “collective”  “do it together “ bit.

The role of the team manager (note I do not use the term leader) is to identify these individual skills and manage them in such a way that they all make the maximum contribution the desired end result and at the same time allow the individual to excel and make his or her mark in the process.

The concept of the “collective” or team always having to be the same, act the same, talk the same, decide collectively how to do things and at what pace etc has more that often led to the team NOT achieving the goals, as the stars are curtailed from shining and then the benefit of their skills and energy and innovation etc is lost.

Managing a group of high achievers and allowing them to explore their own talents etc is not an easy task but it allows for great results rather getting everybody to tow the same line and achieving a mediocre result. As Managers  we need to ensure that we get our members to exhibit their maximum potential for their own good as well as the good of the team.

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