The I’s in team and why you should make the most of them
Ever heard somebody say "there is no I in team"? It's a sports expression managers like to use to imply that the best way to achieve your goals is to set your individual needs aside and come together as a team to accomplish great things. That may all very well be true, but when you think about it, you'll find every successful team has a few I's in it. Ideally at least six. Are you in one of Joomla's teams? Then read further and find out if your team has all the I's dotted!
For a team to fully succeed, there has to be an Us. A what, you may ask? An us. Or a we. The people you are doing this with, and you, form a we. Maybe it's a we like many other we's. That doesn't matter. What matters is you're not doing this all by yourself. Your team can not afford to be a collection of individual me's. You're a we, you're doing it together, and together you can do what you can't do alone. Simple as that.
Involvement, also known as commitment or engagement, is a basic need for every team member. What does this mean? Well, the obvious stuff of course: if you agree to do something, you do it. But it means more. For instance: knowing what everyone in the team is doing. Not in detail, of course, but if you know what the other team members do, you are more aware of what the team is accomplishing and in what direction it's developing. It also means: knowing what the people in your team like and are good at. For the same reasons. And no: this is not a sole responsibility for the team leader. Every team member should know what's going on.
And of course: involvement leads to identity. You know, the us-thing.
A team thrives by information. Suppose you've taken on a chore and for some reason you can't do it. That happens to everyone every once in a while. You may want to wait, because maybe you will be able to do it after all, and then your team leader asks how you're doing with the chore, and then you answer something vague or promise to do it ASAP... Newsflash: this is not working, people. If you are not able to do something you've agreed to do, then say so in an early stage. Maybe someone can help or take over.
There is another side to this. If you want to know what's going on and your fellow team members are not really the spontaneous sharing kind: ask. Just ask. Show an interest in what (and how) people are doing. From personal experience I can tell you that they may react surprised the first time (I had someone respond with "Why? What have you heard?" the first time I asked how they were), but they'll get used to it. They might even start sharing things without being asked, and, the best case scenario: the interest might become mutual.
And guess what: information leads to more involvement.
Innovation and ideas
OK so that's two I's. But since they're very connected, let's consider them one. There is another 'inspirational quote', some people say it's Chinese and others it's African: "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." This really goes for innovation. Every mind is different and we all think in different ways. That means a collective is capable of solving issues that would be much harder to solve by individuals. And it means your team members could come up with ideas that would never have crossed your mind. Use this, people, and be proud of your collective intelligence. It is very valuable.
Every Joomler is different. Some Joomlers are introverted. Some are extraverted. Some have beliefs you don't share. Some have a lifestyle you don't approve of. Some have opinions you disagree with. At the same time, every Joomler is the same. We are all humans, trying to make the best of it ("it" can be Joomla, or life as a whole). In my humble opinion, similarities are to be cherished, differences are to be embraced, valued, explored, and considered a benefit. The more variety you have in your team, the more creative and innovative your solutions may be.
Oh and: inclusion contributes to identity. And involvement.
If you've been in a team for a while, it won't do any harm to do a little health check every now and then. Are you still happy with what you're doing and the way you're doing it? Would you like to do more? Or less, maybe? Are you pleased with the atmosphere within the team? Are there things you'd like to be different? Things you'd like to learn? Maybe a new role to take on? A regular checkup may clear things up for you. And not just for you, because if there is anything that is not going well, or something you'd like to change, of course you inform all the individuals that are involved so the team can act on it.
Six I's? Or seven? And what about the rest of the alphabet?
These are six I's that could make your team thrive. You can probably find many more I's, and maybe A's, E's, O's or U's (yes, that would be the you's in team) as well. And to be honest, it's not about the letters at all. It's about the way your team is working and your own role in this. Look for the I's and all the other letters you can think of, and make your team even better than it is already!
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