Questions of a Team
Teams were created for a single purpose: to do things an individual can’t do.
From the hunter and gather days to the modern multi-million dollar, Wall Street companies, the purpose of bringing a people together remains exactly the same. If left to our preference, and ego, we would undoubtedly go it alone but we simply can’t.
As a matter of fact, that’s exactly what many individuals continue to try to do while a member of a team. In spite of the ‘team’ label, in spite of their teammates, in spite of the urging of coaches - some continue to press against the foundational purpose of a team.
Our choices prioritize ourselves over our teammates and our actions communicate our selfish interests no matter how much we try to conceal them. It’s as natural as it is ignorant.
What we are pursuing is bigger than we can accomplish on our own, yet we still try.
We continue to overestimate our importance to the group.
We continue to spill over into the roles of teammates.
We continue to attempt to save the team with our own valiant effort.
All to achieve something that we knew from the start was only achievable by a team.
Why Should We Care?
While the purpose of a team is singular, the benefits of one are not.
The key to realizing these benefits lies in the questions we ask ourselves.
Even as a member of a quality team, most individuals are drawn to the selfish question: what can this team do for me? The answer offers many rewards, but fails to hold the substance necessary to truly support the needs of the team and ultimately ourselves.
Teams are powerful, beautiful collections of individuals that exceed the sum of their parts. The whole is greater than the pieces. However, this is only true if team members approach their role knowing the answers to two critical questions:
What can I offer?
What will I sacrifice?
A clear awareness of what we have to offer on a team not only creates a feeling of belonging, but allows us to contribute meaningfully to the group. Both are critical within a team. We must feel like we belong to the group and we must feel like we play an important role within that group. This supports the positive side of the ever-dangerous traits, pride and ego.
Equally as important is knowing what we are willing to sacrifice for the team. A vital aspect of the team is the willing sacrifice each member chooses to make for the good of the team. The ‘choosing’ part is important. We can force sacrifices on team members, as long as we accept the limits it ultimately places on the performance of our team. Humility and servanthood blossom only by knowing, and embracing, this answer.
From here, we are in a position to appreciate the full impact of being on a team.
REAL TALK - Action Steps
Since these questions are rarely posed openly, we’ll consider what actions may indicate a team member’s response to them. After all, we can tell far more by what people do than what they say anyway. Here are a few behaviors to keep an eye out for:
If we’re on a team, AND WE’RE ALL ON A TEAM, there are two vitally important questions to consider: What can I offer and what will I sacrifice? From there, and only there, we can truly become a member of the team.
For more information on building excellence in your teams, visit us at www.bluecollargrit.com.
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I'm a teacher, coach, and parent seeking excellence while defining success on my own terms.