I recently read an article written by Chip Lutz, a professional speaker and trainer on team building, that brought home to me the fact that there’s no ‘I’ or ‘U’ in the word TEAM.
“Yeah, but there is a ‘ME’!”, Chip Lutz explains. “The word ‘ME’ can be found in the word ‘TEAM’ and that is exactly what leaders should be working to do – finding the ‘ME’ in their own teams.”
Chip Lutz is so right in saying this. And long after reading this article I kept thinking about that question:
“What is this ‘me’ and how can we encourage ‘me’ in a team setting?”
“It is recognizing the individual effort and contribution that brings diversity and depth to any team endeavor. Every team member brings a unique set of talents, skill, and abilities to the group. If leaders want their teams to really succeed, they need to encourage that uniqueness and remember: “It’s all about the ‘me’!” Chip Lutz declares.
He has suggested some very effective tools to bring out the best in ‘me’ and propel the team to the next level:
The first tool requires lots of nerve and talent. It is revealing your own ‘me’ as a leader, because letting go of your inhibitions and revealing your true ‘me’ may seem risky. However, it’s the only way to go.
To bring out the ‘me’ factor it’s essential that leaders create an atmosphere of trust and cooperation through serving the team. Team members should know that you are with them every step of the way – with your actions, not your words. If they want the creative lightning that comes from the ‘me’ of team members, leaders need to show their own. Revealing their own ‘me’ as a leader shows the way to others and demonstrates authenticity.
Another way to facilitate the ‘me’ factor is for leaders to go beyond merely accepting diversity by embracing diversity. Greet it with open arms, hug it, grasp it, and never let it go. And when it comes to diversity, it is not only the diversity that we can physically see, but also (and equally important) the diversity of new thoughts and new ideas. We should embrace all facets of diversity. That is at the heart of encouraging the ‘me’ factor. Every team member has something to contribute. The greater the diversity of the team, the greater the dimension of thought and action.
At the time of rewarding the team, leaders have another opportunity to encourage the ‘me’ factor. It is important to reward the team as a whole for great work, and it’s even more important to acknowledge those who really put all of their ‘me’ into the effort. It is also important to note that there is a delicate balance to maintain in this effort.
A leader has to know who has done what, when they did it, how it contributed to the whole effort and, ABOVE ALL ELSE, not leave any ‘me’s’ out. This is why we ‘serve’ the team first. As leaders, we know because we are there. It gives us the depth we need to be specific and authentic in our praise. Dr. Wayne W. Dyer says this in a different style: “If you want to see it again, you have to reward it!”
The ‘me’ in the team is about investment – the leaders and team members investing themselves in the project, process and each other. The job can get done without it, but it lacks the shine it could have if all put in their ‘me’s’.
It’s very much like the difference between eating packaged sandwich vs. home-made. The packaged ones are good and can get the job done in satisfying a craving but the home-made ones have that extra lip-smacking goodness that keeps people coming back for more. The latter is made with an investment of the individual, sharing his or her special talents. It was made with ‘me’.
Decide to give the best of yourself to the team. Starting from today, invest in your team and remember, it’s all about ‘ME’!