Tag Archives: Teamwork

Take a bow!

I love the curtain call of play, or really a theater show of any kind. That final culminating event sends a chill down my spine every time. No. It does more than that; I am moved to tears during the curtain call. I have to catch my breath. I cry and gasp a bit for air. It is an odd feeling. I can’t explain it. I don’t even have to know anyone in the show personally.

I can feel the energy and exhilaration from the cast. Their faces penetrate the atmosphere of the theatre. Their collective WE DID IT. WE DID IT AGAIN. I LOVE DOING THIS. Seems to fill the space and touch me deep within that social part of my brain that loves to see people doing what they love.

When someone is doing something out of love and passion, they exude self-confidence. Multiply that times the number of people in the cast and I think we have found the source. That hard work, choreography, synergy, and mutual support add a positive charge to the whole environment. I felt the same way when I was a camp director with my staff. I feel the same way every time I see my students do a presentation or accomplish something good. I love to see the mutual benefits of working together. I get a deep sense of personal pride from the fact that I helped a little in their pride and sense of accomplishment. These have become dynamic positions for me (and markers for my own life) because I get to train, support, and counsel people through a significant growth periods in their lives. I like that connection.

I just read the acknowledgement section of my most recent doctoral student. I cried. She said nice things about me as chair. That was nice to read. BUT it is so much more than that. She acknowledged her community of support and those people who believed in her. I cry every time I re-read the acknowledgements and thanks in my dissertation. All of this hits home for me and reminds me that even in those times we are alone we have “people” that provide support in some way.

I like to think that I approach my job and life’s challenges with an attitude of opportunity and experimentation. Nothing ventured is nothing gained. Learning to be less of a linear thinker and discover how to incorporate a mistake sometimes adds to a project. Being more flexible and open to new possibilities is one of my biggest life lessons. When we work with people, we should realize that from time to time control is almost impossible. All we can control for sure is how we react. If we decide to see what is possible and how we can contribute, it is almost impossible give up. My favorite word is Alacrity. It means: cheerful readiness. Let’s use it in a sentence: We jumped into the project with alacrity. We might add to the group process if we jumped into a project with alacrity an open mind and flexibility.  And, who controls this approach – each one of us.

Permission, now there is a word. Who gives it and when do “they” give it? Who are they? Let’s turn THEY into ME. I can give myself permission. The initial sense of permission has to come from within. We each give ourselves permission to be, do, act, or react to everything. Some days we are comfortable with our own sense of permission, and some days we are not.

If you have been reading some of my posts, you know I like to play with words. Here we go again. Mission. What is your mission? What is it you want to be when you grow up? What is your legacy, your personal mission statement? What do you want people to say about you in the end…or after the end when we aren’t here to hear. Now for the word – Per – it means: for each, for every, by means of, through, by, according to, OR accordance with.


What moves you through (i.e., per) life to create your sense of accomplishment? What moves you to tears when you are so damn proud of yourself for doing, being, creating? How do you approach your mission with alacrity?  How do you add to the play/production/project with alacrity? Give yourself permission to live PER your MISSION. Be what you want to be. Go forth and show the world how you approach your mission with alacrity.

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Linguistic Acrobatics

Linguistic Acrobatics

There is no “I” in Team….but we can find “me”

There is no “I” in team.  To have a team you have to have multiple “I”s to make it all work.  A team by definition is more than one. So, there is no “I” but we do find a ME. Let’s look at the multiples of ME that contribute to task and process of the team.

Let’s back up…

I am guessing that most have heard the saying,  “There is no ‘I” in team.”  This is a true statement of fact.  We can buy posters that say this for the office, locker room, and other gathering places.  I guess this overused phrase reminds us of the importance of working together. Perhaps it is a caution against being self-centered.  I agree that working together is teamwork.  The origin of the word TEAM is from the Old English about “animals being yoked together” to pull or drag something.  But, I am getting off the subject here.  There is no “I” in team.


Let’s look at the word T–E–A–M, and we can find the “ME.”  It takes some spelling acrobatics to manipulate the letters to form the word, Me.   But, after the obvious statement that we can’t find an “I” in team the letter shuffle is least of our worries. Who is the me in a team?  By definition the team has to consist of more than ONE (which coincidentally is the Roman Numeral I).  This concept of ME in a team considers a grouping of individuals (which does have an “I” by the way) to accomplish the work of the team.  In fact one of those posters we can hang in the office also suggests that T-E-A-M  is an acronym for Together Everyone Accomplishes More.  Without the collaboration in a group (perhaps even a Team) of MEs they couldn’t accomplish the work.  This synergy of working together requires the combination of strengths, talents, and gifts that combines to create a critical mass of energy to complete THE work.  The metaphor of 1+1=3 catches our attention due to the improper math equation. At the same time, it illustrates that my work with your work can create a greater sum of work than just what each of us can accomplish on our own.

Abilities of Me

The power and ability to do or act is increased through the collaboration of the many that are working for a common purpose.  Through Transformational leadership we know that at times Me #1 has a strength or talent that will come to the forefront, while the others assume a supporting role.  At other times Me #X will possess a new talent or skill that could be used by the team for the common goal of the group.  Andrew Carnegie
said, “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. [It is] the ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”

An individual can have leadership qualities.  We can recognize a leader among people as a quality of personhood, or through their actions.  But, that recognition comes from someone…or even a group of someones.  I submit that generally this comes from a group, an office, an organization, a team of some sort.  The group in some manner probably shares the role of leader.  This will happen through sequential rotation through an office.  It can happen through shared leadership, or a network of leaders.  It can happen through delegation.

In short, there is no “I” in team, there has to be a bunch of “I”s in there to make it all work.  Do the acrobatics.  See the multiples of ME that contribute to task and process of the team.

When did you know that you were a leader?  Was it related somehow to a group or working with a bunch of other leaders?

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