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Putting the “I” and “U” back into team.

As my husband tells the story, one team member snapped at another saying, “There’s no “I” in team.” To whit the other team member shot back, “Yeah, well there’s no U either.” Sadly, they were both wrong.

I’m sure you have heard the saying “There is no “I” in team” however, I would like to challenge that idea because saying there is no “I” in team is incorrect. There’s both an “I” and a “U”. Allow me to explain.

Each of us must be a team player for the team to function. “I” have both a role on a team and a responsibility to it’s success. It is not the team that owes me, rather “I” owe the team. Remember that famous quote from President Kennedy’s inauguration, “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” The same applies with your team.

In order to have a team, you have to be a team player. I challenge “U” to focus on “I”. How are you meeting your obligations to the team? Sometimes it won’t be fair. Sometimes you’ll get more reward than you deserve and sometimes you’ll get less.

I’d challenge you by asking are “U”:

  • “Over” Communicating to your team and other teams what you are doing?
  • Actively seeking feedback on how you can help others better meet the team goal?
  • Asking what information they need from you – BEFORE they have to hunt you down for it?
  • Going the second and third mile to ensure the team is successful?
  • Humble enough to let the team take credit instead of “U”?
  • The team member you want everyone else to be?
  • Actively pursuing understanding to elevate the team to benchmark?

Here’s a simple way to assess the kind of teammate “U” are perceived to be. Ask yourself how often “U” are requested to be on a team? People only want to work with “I”s that make the saying: “There’s no I in team” a reality.

Be intentional