Who hasn’t seen the poster on a break room wall or heard the rally cry at a company meeting that shouts, “There’s no I in team!”? Yep, the quote is everywhere and even though I understand the intention behind it, I say pshaw to that notion!
It’s clear that the quote is meant to evoke enthusiasm for that teamwork thing organizations always seem to be striving for. They want that well-oiled machine that runs on all cylinders, never has a disagreement, and exceeds every goal put it front of it without breaking a sweat. But the idea that individuals don’t matter in a work group is just silly. Of course they matter! When individuals are able to share ideas, be innovative, and take personal accountability for words and actions, the sky is the limit. If employees are supposed to check their “I” at the door, it should come as no surprise that they also may check the level of interest and personal investment it takes for a team to succeed.
The experts at Question Behind the Question tell us to bring out the “I” in a team setting by asking these questions:
“How can I elevate my performance?”
“What can I do to move the team forward toward the goal?”
“How can I support those around me?”
I think those guys know what they’re talking about. Imagine if you approached the next group meeting and started asking I questions instead of team questions. You’d be challenging the status quo, that’s for sure. Demonstrating that you’re willing to take personal accountability for how well (or not) the team does may start a brand new way of interacting within the group. Give it a try and report back, because, well, I would like to hear about the results.
Vivian Scott is a Professional Certified Mediator and the author of Conflict Resolution at Work For Dummies. She spent many years in the competitive and often stress-filled world of high tech marketing where she realized resolving conflict within the confines of office politics was paramount to success. Through creative solutions to common conflicts she was able to bring various entities together, both internally and externally, for the betterment of projects and a productive working environment.
Prior to retiring from Microsoft in 1999 she developed the “America at Work” video series, a six-part program featuring small businesses employing technology in attention-grabbing ways. “America at Work” aired on the USA Network and received the Silver Screen Award from the International Film and Video Festival for outstanding creativity. Using discerning negotiation, mediation, and problem-solving skills, she successfully worked with others to co-create “How-to Guides”, “Seminar in a Box”, and even one of the first on-line Guerrilla Marketing books.
Since her retirement, Ms. Scott has gone on to earn a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences with a concentration in American Studies from the University of Washington. She completed an extensive practicum with the Dispute Resolution Center of Snohomish & Island Counties where she has mediated numerous cases, helping parties resolve conflict in workplace, family, and other disputes. Her private mediation practice has handled cases ranging from assisting business partners in ending their relationship to creating a new working environment within a law firm. Ms. Scott is a member of the Washington Mediation Association and spends a majority of her time advocating embracing peace in a volatile world.
Her book, Conflict Resolution at Work For Dummies, can be found in bookstores, on www.amazon.com, www.dummies.com, or any number of on-line bookseller sites.