A few weeks back I had an interesting discussion with a fellow colleague. He brought up the subject of the individuals that exist within a team. He talked about the very commonly used phrase: “There is no “I” in team.” He took the counterpoint to the phrase and argued that not only is there an “I” in team, but multiple “I’s.”

He went on to show that a team is made up of a number of individuals “I’s” and that a successful team is built around each and every “I.” Everyone has their own strengths and abilities and is able to contribute to the success of a team because of those attributes. We should celebrate those individual traits and utilize them as resources. For the most part, his observation is very accurate.

However, no one person can take credit for the success of a team. A true team member will put aside his/her need for individual praise and personal acclamation for the good of the team. Humility is a necessary trait required of all team members within the team in order to become a high performing team.

Star athletes, although not known to be the most humble of individuals, often remember to give praise to the rest of the team for contributing in some way to their success. In doing so, he/she acknowledges those behind the scenes, letting them know they are appreciated. Amazingly, this acknowledgment does a great deal to encourage team members to continue striving to support the success of the star and the team.

Regardless of your perspective, a truly successful team is built from single individuals. It is these single individuals who are brought together and are the building block for successful teamwork.

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Mike Dixon

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