There’s no ‘I’ in team…

There’s no ‘I’ in a successful TEAM – there’s always lots of ‘T’

You’re in a team – right? Very few of us work completely alone. A seemingly isolated lighthouse keeper needs the support of others to successfully do his job, even just to survive.

We live in a world of ubiquitous communication options and offerings, all at our fingertips; 24/7. Change comes at us at lightning speed, often before we’ve had any chance to prepare.

Business is more and more focused on utilizing technology to cut costs and improve the bottom-line. And in this turbulent, super-charged virtual world we are still expected to function as a coherent team, just as in the good old days, you know…before the internet (did the world really exist back then?!)

These are interesting times for Corporate Drama – the dramatically different training company. In August I had 3 enquiries from new clients all wanting our help in enabling them to explore the same development topic: effective team working.

And as we all know, there’s no ‘I’ in team:
TEAMLet’s navigate around the ‘I’ in team and focus firmly on the ‘T’TRUST. Just for a moment think about a relationship you’ve had where there was an absence of trust.

  • How did that relationship make you feel?
  • What were the challenges in collaborating with the other person/people?
  • Did the team succeed in achieving its objectives?
  • Did you have to compromise your values? If so, how?
  • How did your having to compromise make you feel?

Very few of us have escaped the experience of being in a dysfunctional team, one where trust is barely evident. Political and personal agendas proliferate. It’s never a great place to be and certainly one where the true potential of the team is frequently mortgaged for other agendas.

If you’ve read my blogs before you’ll know I use the brilliant trust triangle in our programmes. Here it is for those of you who’ve not seen it before:

Trust Triangle

The concept is easy and obvious: all these 3 EQUAL ELEMENTS need to be in place before trust can successfully exist. This for many of our programme participants is a very powerful reminder of how to build trust around our behavioural choices.

Let’s go one-step further in exploring the concept of trust. What depth of trust do you want to build in your team? Superficial or super-strong?


Let’s explore the concept of demonstrable vulnerability in trust. Because when we are in any relationship where we’re able to trust at a level of being honest, truthful, open and vulnerable a higher level of trust will always prevail.

What might this look like?

How about leaders and managers actively encouraging an environment where some or all of these happen daily and are common-place:

As a valued member of our team it’s absolutely OK to:

  • To make mistakes and by openly sharing with the team – all of us can learn
  • To admit and share that you “don’t know”
  • To ask for more clarity if you don’t understand
  • To ask for help when you need it
  • To challenge others in the spirit of collaboration
  • To share feedback in the spirit of collaboration
  • To receive feedback in the spirit of collaboration
  • To consistently give more motivational feedback than developmental
  • To not feel pressurized to have all the answers all the time
  • To understand that as a team of individuals we all have good, bad days and everything in-between days!

And this is just a start of what could be a long list of guidelines in creating a team who trusts through developing vulnerability and openness.

I suspect many of you reading this list may have a strong reaction to these suggestions.

Still not convinced? Think of a time when you’ve had a high level of openness in a relationship (possibly not necessarily a business relationship). What were the benefits, what were the areas you found easiest and most comfortable? What were the areas you found hardest and least comfortable? There could be clues here to your own blind spots.

In writing this blog I’m reminded of Patrick Lencioni’s story of the CEO who approves the use of 360-feedback reports across their senior leadership team. When the SL team meets to discuss the findings the CEO spends all their time debating and challenging their collective feedback on his report. “It says here that 73% of you think I don’t give enough praise”. No one in the room speaks until one-person comments: “In my experience you give more praise than many of the other CEOs I’ve worked with…” a few shy murmurs of approval and the rest are tacit through their silence.

Here, the senior leadership team learned its best to avoid openness, instead choosing political silence. After all it was their feedback scores and comments on the CEO’s 360! The CEO avoided a golden opportunity to show their colleagues that it’s OK to be vulnerable, that in their organisation they can all learn through becoming more aware of our individual strengths and weaknesses.

Talk to us about our dramatically different approach to developing emotionally intelligent teams and the leaders of those teams. Call the Corporate Drama team today on 0208 088 2600 – you, your people and your customers will be very glad you did!

And while you’re here, download our FREE pdf report: 12 Leadership Secrets (and how they all impact your bottom line)

12 Big Leadership Secrets

Leave a Reply 1 comment

Roby - 11th February 2017 Reply

Well put, sir, well put. I’ll cetlianry make note of that.

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