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

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.

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

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

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

“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.” You thought to yourself, “Could such a strange twist on a word actually work?”

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

You 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.

You NOW became 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
“Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” Jesus
(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

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