What do you bring to the team?

B. Keith Chapman, President & CEO


While there are many philosophies surrounding the perfect recipe for a successful team, the basic principles of what contributes to success are well understood. For example, a team working together can accomplish more than a single individual. However, there may be a few dynamics of a team that are not as widely understood, or in some cases, underappreciated. A single individual’s contribution to the team can have a profound impact. Not everyone can walk away with the title of most valuable player, but everyone plays a significant role in the team’s overall performance. Have you ever given thought about what contributions you are making daily to the teams and organizations you are a part of? Whether it be your family, social groups or work, our actions and behaviors impact the health of the team.


Teams are built with people of all different skill sets, abilities and confidence levels. This is what makes them so effective and so challenging at the same time. Regardless of your talent level, there is one very powerful element of team dynamics that can be capitalized on by each and every member. The element of positive and encouraging communication. Proverbs 12:18 says, “The words of the reckless pierce like swords but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Do your verbal contributions produce a positive environment or do they cause division? Using wisdom when communicating is not just about what is actually said. Just as important, is how and when things are said. In fact, not saying anything may be the best option. Communication occurs naturally, but positive and effective communication requires intentional effort. How intentional are you willing to be for the greater good of the teams that you are a part of?


If you understand the challenge of communicating in a way that supports and encourages, you will have already identified the need to exercise some grace to those who have not yet mastered the skill. William James once said, “The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.” Simply put, not everything that someone says or does requires a response. We have a natural tendency to respond to others as they respond to us. However, our natural response is not always the correct one. In fact, some of the most influential moments of team interaction occurs when someone refuses to react in a negative fashion despite what others have said or done. Regardless of which team member exercises this level of intentional self-control, the behavior will often help establish standards for the team going forward.


We have all heard phrases like top-down leadership, lead from the middle or bottom-up leadership. These are all terms used to describe the leadership efforts of team members regardless of their position in the organization. Some may argue that one of these approaches is better than another. However, the truth is, they all start with one individual making a positive impact on others around them. Never underestimate the opportunity you have to impact people through positive and encouraging words.


Challenge: Don’t be reckless with your words, choose them wisely. Ensure your interaction with family, friends and organizations is positive and encouraging. Regardless of your position or responsibilities on the team, never forget that your contributions are just as important as any other member of the team. Don’t get too hung up on what direction to lead from…. JUST LEAD!  


Published: March 1, 2020

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