Employee Engagement: Capture the Magic of the I’s in Team!

In a recent meeting, someone once again quoted the maxim “there is no I in team”. The adage sprang from good intentions — to focus all on the team goal above personal pet peeves.

Admittedly, it has inspired many people who were raised on sacrifice over self and worked as a metaphorical bat with self-centered people to refocus them on the team goal.

Meanwhile, it is a disincentive to many who are inspired to maximum commitment by contributing who they are to the bigger success. Hitting them with the same “there is no you” bat is the exact opposite of what they need to hear.

Employee Engagement: A bat might not create the magic home run for the team. Image by:lambdachialpha

Employee Engagement: The Magic of the I's in Team Image by:Purple Phoenix

When we use an inspirational wand instead of a bat, we engage employees with the magic of the I’s in team:

  • Insight emerges from an individual’s unique experiences and views. This “I” is critical to the vitality of any business. Squelch it and we gift other companies the competitive edge.
  • Integrity lives within a person as they work in the organizational culture leaders create. “There is no I in team” confuses the inner voice of integrity with the risk of being labeled a whistle blowing non-team player. We can silence the voices of integrity to the detriment of the organization or clearly champion integrity as a critical “I” in team.
  • Initiative may well be the one living force that a business can’t live without. We must create a positive environment where all team members feel inspired to imagine, invent, improve, and initiate for team success.

    The old adage “there is no I in team” doesn’t light the fuse of initiative in today’s workforce. The request, “initiate team success with your talents”, does!

  • Individual talents are the essence of our hiring investment. We grow that investment by acknowledging the diverse talents and mentoring them into the light of team goals and organizational success.
  • Invaluable diversity gives teams their greatest successes and challenges. It is in the kaleidoscope of diversity we are likely to encounter the risky power of personal pet peeves.

    It is here we are most likely to spout out in frustration, “there is no I in team”, hoping to trigger flexibility from each. Yet, it is far better to coach the team from diversity to a unity of success than to neutralize diversity to achieve give and take.

  • Help the team learn about and from each other as people and see the bonds of individual respect and teamwork grow.

Capture the Magic of the I’s in Team

Leaders, managers, team leads, supervisors resist the urge for neutralize individuality:

  1. Recognize the individual strengths that complement and unite to overcome the toughest challenges.

    If you have a rewards/recognition budget at the end of a tough project, reward each team member in a unique way as well as the team’s efforts and collective success. Beyond a team celebration, give small individualized gifts (gift card noting “for your next fishing trip”, or “to revel in your favorite dance video” or “for your favorite author’s next book”). Go one step further and encourage all to use an internal company social media site to share their reflections on how they enjoyed the gift or what they love about their hobby.

  2. Coach each employee to learn from each others’ strengths. It turns diversity driven conflict into personal best with generous restraint.

    “Unity, not uniformity, must be our aim. We attain unity through variety.” ~Mary Parker Follett

  3. Honor team members with well-earned individual praise as well as team kudos. Your recognition and care for them as individuals engages self-sacrifice and contribution. It also models this behavior into a culture of peer to peer recognition and give and take.

There are many I’s in team and we can spark infinite commitment and unparalleled success when we capture the magic of the “I’s” we hired!

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™

Related Post:
Teamwork Gems Create Startling Results

12 Worthy Kudos to Spark Employee Engagement

©2012 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. If you want to re-post or republish this post, please email info@katenasser.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

7 Responses to “Employee Engagement: Capture the Magic of the I’s in Team!”

  1. Tom Short says:


    The post is bang on and we appreciate that you agree with our Kudos concept 🙂

    Everything you just described, describes what Kudos can do for any organization. Corporate Communication, Individual communication and expression, transparency, Trust, recognition, and Constructive Kudos (coaching and mentor) to help individuals grow, all leading to a team that works together for a common goal utilizing their individual talents. In the end, building a culture of engagement on these principles will create a unique competitive advantage for any organization.

    I would love to give you a demo of Kudos and get your feedback and if you like Kudos, we hope you share it with all your readers. (www.Kudosnow.com)

    Thanks, Tom

  2. Greg Marcus says:

    Great post. The positive of “there is no I in team” can be interpreted to mean that no individual is bigger than the team. But unfortunately I have seen this phrase taken to its negative extreme, there are no individuals, and it becomes an excuse for not recognizing the contributions of each person.

    Corporations can be dehumanizing, and your post is a great reminder that when people are treated like people, they are happier and more productive.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Exactly my point Greg. The initial meaning was well intentioned yet I have witnessed more leaders neutralizing individuals with this saying and the results are disastrous.

      Many thanks,

  3. David Zinger says:

    Ah Kate, the “I’s” have it. A wonderful post. I put it up right away on the Employee Engagement Network facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/employeeengagementnetwork. Also I welcome and encourage you to cross post your fine engagement work on the employee engagement network. You can just cut and paste it and insert it into the network if you are interested in doing that.

  4. James says:

    Certainly a great perspective on “I’s” in teams! When you think about it the whole team are “I’s” and its they are the DNA for the Team. I believe individuality is an important part to a high performing team, this post builds some grounding around that! Great post and interesting read. Thank you

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