There’s No I In Team

By Reg Scheepers

No I in Team WorkMy favourite comeback for “There is no ‘I’ in TEAM” is “Yes, but there is a ‘ME'”.

Jokes aside. It’s a natural, almost reflex reaction when we see a report on our strengths and weaknesses to make a plan to develop our weaknesses. Most of us want to be the best person we can be.

It’s one thing developing your weaknesses in your own time, but when you’re part of a team, that’s not the time to work on your weaknesses. In fact, once you’ve identified what you’re good at in life, there’s very little reason to develop your weaknesses at all as far as I’m concerned.

I’m not talking about character flaws, I’m talking about skills and talents. You have God-given talents. So why is it that so many people focus most of their attention on improving their weaknesses? Why do so many teachers and parents insist their children should develop their weaknesses? It’s idiotic!

In a team, each person has a responsibility to develop their strengths and bring those strengths to the table. Many managers expect their employees to be jacks of all traits. That’s a sure way to have a mediocre team.

In a world where there is so much information and so many people competing, each person needs to become a specialist in the area in which they’re naturally gifted.

Wouldn’t it be hilarious if a team was sent to the Olympics where each person did what they sucked at. The whole point of a team is to have one person’s strengths cover another’s weaknesses.

The only weaknesses we should be developing are character weaknesses like getting angry too quickly or being intolerant of others, stuff like that.

So in your work and life in general, focus on what you are good at and ignore your weaknesses. In fact if you were to rock up at work tomorrow and inform your boss that you will from now on only focus on work that allows you to play to your strengths, your quality of life will improve dramatically. You might get fired first but from there it will improve dramatically 😉

In part 2 we’ll look at what else breaks down good team work.