Teamwork is working together — even when apart.
Being part of a team is a great privilege, but can be tricky… Being a good teammate is vital. A successful team consists of a group of individuals that all come together and work towards a common goal. They possess one focus and are willing to sacrifice personal glory for the good of the group. It takes complete and total commitment from everyone to accomplish the goal, but it only takes one person to destroy everything. Our basketball program at Michigan State serves as a great reminder to me of this idea. I’ve been on teams that had total focus and achieved great success. I have also been on teams where one player, single-handedly, served as a cancer and brought several other teammates down with them… this makes for a tough season.
I was always amazed at the atmosphere inside our program at MSU. It’s an environment where people who grew up in the inner city and people that grew up on a farm can become the best of friends. I was lucky to grow up in Flint where I went to school with people of all different races and cultures and I was able to learn and develop my interpersonal skills. Basketball does the same thing. It puts so many different personalities together that you are forced to learn how to deal with those different character traits and personal backgrounds in order to mesh as a single team unit. I can’t say it’s always pretty… I’ve seen and been involved with plenty of arguments and physical altercations with my teammates because there was a differing opinion on something. But if you’re all committed, 100%, to a common goal, then the ultimate pursuit and vision of that goal is what keeps you bonded together.
An office presents the same dynamic. You have a group of people from all different backgrounds who all work for the same entity. In our office, we have people from different geographic regions, age ranges and specialties. However, when all people involved commit to the mission set by our leadership and commit to maintain the right chemistry, continued growth for our group is imminent. Still, all it takes is one person to infect the others in the office and cause cracks within the infrastructure of your business. Whether it’s a negative attitude or a poor work ethic, one single pessimistic, unenthusiastic teammate can disrupt the whole unit.
In closing, the quote at the top says it all. I don’t care if you don’t agree with your coach/boss, co-workers/teammates… don’t allow yourself to become the person that negatively affects the good of the team. Have enough respect for yourself and your teammates to stay committed, and do what you can to help other people be successful.