When leading, there’s No “I” in Team, But There is a “M-E”

When leading, there’s No “I” in Team, But There is a “M-E”

May 9, 2022

It’s one of the most thankless jobs you’ve been assigned – serving as a team leader. A job loaded with responsibility and accountability, but no power of enforcement.

Even those who have the best people skills can be brought to their knees by that one individual in the group who is not a team player. Sadly, that’s the individual the group is looking to – to challenge your authority as leader.

My challenge occurred during a meet and greet with the newly formed team.  When I gave guidelines that the team was expected to follow—guidelines given to me by management — an individual spoke up and said, “There’s no I in the word TEAM”.

Because I was caught off-guard, I called an hour recess so the situation would not escalate as well as give me some time regarding how to respond. You see, I knew my actions were being watched by a few who would report to management as to how I handled the team.

During that recess, I thought, should I blame management for giving such guidelines, should I tackle this person face to face—”mano a mano”—that hand-to-hand mental combat they’re really looking for? If only I had a great one-liner to derail this uncomfortable situation.

So, I spent the hour reading wisdom quotes in order to gain some perspective while easing my mind. When I came across Willam James’s quote that the art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook, I realized that this word “TEAM”, I needed to address head-on. I started tinkering with the word and then it came to me.  

Yes, the word TEAM does not have an I, but it does have a “M-E”… ME.. and per the dictionary, the word ME is the person receiving the action. I thought, could such a strange twist on a word actually work?

When the recess was over, I did a quick recap with the team of what we had previously covered. I then came to our last topic, the comment about the word “TEAM”.

I said, “Regarding the word TEAM, there is no “I” in the word TEAM, but there is a “M-E”…ME… who is the person receiving this work. For further clarification, check the dictionary and philosophy texts.  Any questions?”

The room was silent.

I NOW was their leader.

Now using My S-T-O-I-C STORYTELLING method:

(S) An employee is not willing to follow my direction.
(T) “The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.” William James
(O) Overlooking the “not so positive” to looking at the “positive” made the team respect me.
(I) Looking back, treating a potentially negative situation with respect through the use of philosophy as a rational approach, encouraged the person to change their mind and work with me.
(C) The character trait I improved was to remain firm in using philosophy as a guide to teaching myself and others.

The Stoicess’ Secret?
There’s no “I” in the word TEAM, but there is a “M-E” – ME – who is the person receiving this work

Remember: “It’s the Situation Keeping My Connection with Him”.

I’m Lori Stith, The Stoicess, and I believe in You!

Here’s the video link if you’d like to watch it: https://youtu.be/YtsJkKrNBz4

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