There’s No “I” in “Team”

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Working in a team is hard. Working in a team as a type-A personality (such as myself) is even harder.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a great appreciation for the power of a team—I grew up playing Division I, travel soccer and have seen what teamwork can accomplish. I love how it manifests better ideas and problem-solving approaches through collaboration. In fact, the importance of idea exchange and teamwork is one of the reasons Yahoo recently announced it’s banning its employees from working remotely.

“Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings,” said a memo leaked from Yahoo’s top human resources executive, Jackie Reses.

I definitely agree.

Working in a team is an essential part not only of the workplace, but of successfully traveling through life as well—which is exactly what working in a team in the Humphrey Seminar has taught me.

As a perfectionist (and extremely detail-oriented individual), it’s sometimes difficult for me to trust others with completing their part of the work or submitting a form of work I find acceptable. But, as I learned from my team’s efforts on this most recent project, you simply can’t go through life trying to do everything yourself.

People can and will do their responsibilities in their own way, and everything will get done—even if it’s not in the way I would’ve done it. And, though it’s been a struggle for me to realize it, that’s okay.

Different ideas and different approaches are what make teamwork so valuable in the first place. There’s no “I” in “team,” and there’s a reason for that.

As the renowned football coach Vince Lombardi has said, “Individual commitment to a group effort—that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

A simple lesson, but an important one.