The mantra, “There is No ‘I’ in Team,” is misguided. It has been hailed in business meetings and plastered on posters, yet can be dangerously wrong.
We all embrace the wisdom that flagrant egos, the selfish act of putting our needs above the group’s, are destructive. But when we interpret ‘No I in Team’ to mean that we must diminish ourselves, our individual identity, for the betterment of the team, we inadvertently weaken the team’s potential. And everyone loses.
Research professor Brené Brown makes a solid and brilliant case for all of us to step into our ‘I,’ our greatness, here. The strength of any team is measured by the bonds between its members. And those critical connections can’t be made until we are ourselves.
Those who play small for fear of being seen as egotistical, hide in the ‘we.’ The less I am, the less likely I am compelled to stand up, speak up, assume responsibility, and take risks. (Because it’s all about the team, right?) Playing big requires being vulnerable. When I do this, you will discover who I am, and you’re likely to trust me more.
People don’t follow a ‘we.’ They follow you. You, the true you, are the essential ingredient to strengthening your team. Withholding your character, perspective and experience is ultimately a selfish act. As you reveal your greatness for the cause and glory of the team’s mission, only then can the team realize its potential.