Members of great teams are focused on achieving greatness together. But personal egos, aspirations, politics, money and gossip can quickly erode any chance they have of greatness.
This is most recognizable on sports teams where individual egos and selfishness often times supersedes the good of the team. The player who is upset he didn’t score more, even though his team got the victory. The teammate who is highly critical of other teammates in an attempt to hide her own mistakes and weaknesses. Or the star player who frequently misses practice.
In 2002, star player and 11 time NBA All Star pick Allen Iverson went on a memorable, ego driven and somewhat humorous rant about practice. Iverson had just been involved in a significant disagreement with his coach Larry Brown after being called out for missing too many practices.
In a press conference shortly after the falling out, he said the following when asked about his lack of attendance at practice: “We’re sitting in here, and I’m supposed to be the franchise player, and we’re here talking about practice. I mean listen, we’re talking about practice, not a game, not a game, not a game, we’re talking about practice. Not the game that I go out there for and die for and play every game like it’s my last. Not the game, but we’re talking about practice, man. I mean, how silly is that?”
Later on a reporter interrupts Iverson and asks: “But it’s an issue that your coach continues to raise?” Iverson responds, “Man look, I hear you… it’s funny to me too, I mean it’s strange… It’s strange to me too, but we’re talking about practice man, we’re not even talking about the game… the actual game, when it matters… we’re talking about practice…” To see a video of the interview go here.
Could you imagine someone on your team being asked why they missed several meetings and saying… “I’m supposed to be the best member of this team, and we are here talking about meetings. I mean listen, we are talking about meetings, not the actual work, but meetings, we are talking about meetings. Not the actual work that I give my all for. Not the actual work, but we’re talking about meetings. I mean, how silly is that? We’re not even talking about the actual work, when it matters… we’re talking about meetings.”
I know several of you might be thinking, this person has a point about meetings 🙂 But all joking aside, it’s clear that such selfishness would not be tolerated on many teams and would be tolerated by fewer leaders.
So, how do you deal with such egos and “me first” attitudes on your teams? I would love to discuss this. Please comment below. Let’s talk.
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You Are The Team is focused on improving each member of your team through 8 important principles that will not only significantly change your team, but lives as well. Traditionally books written on teamwork have focused on helping leaders improve teamwork. While leaders have a significant accountability to improving how teams function, members of the team have just as much or more accountability.
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