Monday, January 21, 2013

Are You A "Team Player"?

I have a deficiency.
I admit it.
Easy as it seems for other people to do this, apparently, I simply cannot.

I am not a good "team player."
Those of you who know this blog well know this already.  

Maybe I should explain what I see as a "team player." What I've seen and heard and experienced at the hands of corporate types who speak in those terms.
What does it mean?

In my experience...
It means you  are not a person, but a "resource"--one a company can move around or deploy at its whim and convenience.
It means you embrace an aim of a group you get shoved into without your consent, to make something happen you may or may not even believe is a good idea.
It means you're  willing to "go the extra mile"--which generally translates to, "Sales promised something that is humanly impossible, but we have to save their butts by doing it."
It means you  move your vacations, your holidays, and your life around, if necessary, so that the "team" meets a goal.
It means you  say nothing at all when you see corporate top dogs taking glory for a grand conclusion you and your comrades sweated blood over--or, conversely, take all the blame away from the top dog (even if he or she goofed up) if something goes wrong.
Above all, it means that you think like the group, nod your head over the group conclusions, and keep your mouth shut if you disagree.

Now, to me, the above doesn't describe a human person.
It describes a machine, a robot, or a service animal.
(In fact, that probably does the service animal an injustice.)

Which is why I'm an entrepreneur...and not a "team player."

This kind of admission is anathema.
It brands you as "troublesome," as "difficult," or as "unreliable."
It can, in fact, keep you from getting hired for many of what are considered "good jobs."

And yet, many, many, many of us who bristle at the requirements/expectations above are anything but troublesome, difficult, or unreliable.
Many, many times, we're the ones actually getting the work done--and done well.
Most times, in fact, we're the ones who throw our whole hearts into what we believe in.
We're the ones who "leave it all on the field."
Which means we're the best bet if you truly want to get something of value accomplished...because we will own our own work every single time.
No groups or teams are necessary for us to get stuff done. 
We simply roll up our sleeves and do it.

This is why I'm a free agent, and happy to be one.
This is why I'm an entrepreneur.
And this is why if you think beyond the lines and color outside the might discover that I, and many more like me, are precisely the people you'll want on a "team" that's gonna kick ass in meaningful, lasting ways.

Brilliance doesn't come cheap, and it doesn't come boxed.
Especially not in the "good team player" box.

Think about that the next time you need to hire "awesome."
You may not find it in the good, obedient team players.
But you just might find it in snarky, stubbornly independent cusses like me. :-)



Deb said...

My husband is a team player, and known for it. That's probably why they're discussing outsourcing three entire teams -- including his.

Payback's a beast, ain't it?

Janny said...

No good deed goes unpunished.

Especially by upper management!