There Is An “I” In Team

There Is An “I” In Team
Gregg Stone

There is no “I” in team; How many times have you heard that phrase? It is the team player mantra used to inform a certain set of individuals that they work together as a team and that they are not to seek any individual recognition; It is all about the team. Do not think the team is dependent upon you and that if you quit, the team will fall apart. Do not think that you are the only one on the team that can perform the actions accordingly and that everyone else is insufficient. There is no “I” in team. If we work together as a team we win but if we do not we will lose; united we stand but divided we fall.

I fully understand this concept and I agree with the philosophy of this way of thinking up to a point, however I do believe that there is an “I” in team. If you look at the word team and you move a few letters you can find the word, “me.” A team is defined as a cooperative unit, however this cooperative unit consists of individuals that have their own unique personalities, and skills.

I came across a unique quote the other day that proclaimed; “The weakest link in a chain is also the strongest because it breaks the chain.” The chain is separated because one individual member was weak. You now have two sections of chain that cannot function as one because they are not connected anymore. One weak, individual link, broke the connection of the cooperative unit.

It imperative that we recognize the importance of the “I” in team. Yes we need the team to function as a well-oiled machine, yes we need unity, yes we need cooperation, however we must not forsake the needs of each individual person that make up the team. Each member of the team must be properly trained to undertake his duty and perform it to the benefit of the team as a whole, however if this individual member is lacking in his duties then the team as a whole will suffer.

“Bear” Bryant, legendary coach of the University of Alabama, had a great insight into teamwork as well as the individuality of each player. “Do I treat them alike? No. You can’t. When I was a young coach I used to say that. ‘Treat everybody alike.’ The proper philosophy is to treat everybody fairly.” Bear stated, “Everybody is different. If you treat them all alike you won’t reach them. Be fair with all of them and you have a chance. You have to learn what makes this person run. For one it’s a pat on the back for another one it is a good chewing out, for another it’s a good fatherly talk.”

I have seen churches hindered because some of the individuals on the team were not put in the proper place, were not properly trained or were simply ignored.

When a leader recognizes the ability or inability of the individuals he has on his team he can then place them in the proper positions and get them the proper individual training to propel them to a higher level, so they in turn can then contribute in a more effective way as a part of the team. Vince Lombardi, legendary coach, put it this way; Individual commitment to a group effort-that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.

There is an “I” in team and a great leader will understand this and will look at his team as individuals and not just a group trying to accomplish their goals through a group effort. It is each individual, giving his best, because he has had proper training, that allows the team to function to its fullest capacity.

The above article, “There Is An I In Team,” is written by Gregg Stone. The article was excerpted from The Preacher’s Page Newsletter in December of 2009.

The material is most likely copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.