Words are only symbols of something else.

OMG…I am not a team player…now what do I do?  Don’t I fit in? (NO…) Don’t I play well with others? (YES, I do!)  Should I just say… “I am a team player!” Will I be more accepted then?  Being a TEAM player is acknowledged by the best companies as The Way To Be.  Often you hear, or see, great presentations about the word TEAM and what those letters stand for.  Another one I’ve heard is “There is no I in T-E-A-M.”   This is a very old paradigm.  The word team teaches nothing…the Experience of Being on a team can teach you everything…I like to use the very ancient words from the HAGAKURI. “Learn one thing, learn a thousand.”

My favorite way to put a TEAM together would be to use the analogy of JAZZ.  Each single person is an I AM or I WILL kind of person.  A person who can hold his own, alone if necessary, yet allows others to play as well to the best of their ability.  If you watched and heard a Jazz quintet play together, you would hear each musician do his or her own “thing.” It becomes a thing of beauty, and it’s called JAZZ.  Each player can SOLO as well as join in the tune with accompaniment.  It’s a joy to  be in the presence of this type of TEAM.   The Piano man, the percussionist, the base, the horn, and the guitar – WOW!  Put them altogether and “THAT’s ALL THAT JAZZ!”  A team can be like this.  This will work.

I have never considered myself a TEAM player.  I play on many teams and I love to experience the joy of working with the team, but I absolutely and positively expect each and every other player on the TEAM to do their own very best.  When I expect this, I usually get it.  I never use the term supervision of the team. Children require supervision, not a TEAM of adults.

Team leadership requires a certain willingness to be on the leading edge of whatever you are doing.  The leading edge requires a certain type of energy, a very strong imagination, and the positive approach to the game you are playing.

So, what are the NEW RULES?  How do you set up a wonderful TEAM?  How many players can and will hold their own, be responsible for the job getting done, and when a mistake is made, vow to take ownership and correct it without fear of some retribution from above.  FEAR of any kind ruins a TEAM.  Yet, it seems we are driven by FEAR or the FEAR of not surviving.  Try setting up a team by setting yourself up first to lead it…it won’t hurt and you may learn something new about these words…WORDS TEACH NOTHING.  You get to practice and experience your job, and your life, all by yourself. If you can do these things, you will give up your survival, you will have no schemes to justify, and you will have more trust in yourself. Remember: “Anything you resist will persist, and you cannot give away to others what you do not have.”

So here is what I work on every day to be a better leader, teacher/trainer, and coach.

  • STOP working for 20 minutes and see if I can quiet my mind. The sun will come up tomorrow and gravity will still work, without me pulling it, the tide comes in. Try this…you can relax.
  • DECLARE “Everything I experience is right, and every word I think or say may be wrong.”
  • Acknowledge you can’t “fool the force” – That is law in the UNIVERSE.
  • Check your own speech (words) that justify your making yourself right. (That’s a big one)
  • Lastly, when things are NOT going your way…ask yourself this question: “Would I rather be right or happy?” Then, give it up, and choose HAPPY.  Let them be right…SO WHAT!

Team playing is so much fun when you acknowledge you are part of it and at the same time responsible for all of it. Team playing is a fantastic experience when you know that what you think matters.  When you can trust yourself to be a leader and a team player at the same time…you will know what this article really means.  WORDS DON’T TEACH.  Experience your life!  It’s worth it.  Then TEACH others what you learned through experience (NOT JUST WORDS) and they may take your part, your advice, or even play the same tune while they develop their own instrument, and play on.

Now that’s what you want isn’t it…? And THAT’S JAZZ!

Judy McKee