Building a Great Team Starts with YOU


I know you've heard it more than hundreds of times, "there's no 'I' in team". However, I'd like to suggest that there is a lot of "I" in every team and the right "I"  needs to be a part of building a successful team.

Let's be clear, I'm not talking about pride. That's the wrong "I" to have. It always leads to destruction and, in the end, a lousy team.


The "I" to which I refer is the uniquenesses and personalities of each member of the team. Each person brings a different set of personality style preferences to the team and one of your jobs as the leader is to understand, cope with and maximize those preferences.

Whether you are a top executive, pastor, middle manager, first-line supervisor or a data analyst, your success, and the success of your team and company, largely depends on your ability to deal with other human beings. A manager needs to be a specialist in relating to people. The manager's prime job is to get results with and through other people. This is also true, by varying degrees, of anyone, anywhere in the company.

Before you can lead a team; however, you must understand yourself. Building a great team must start with you and your complete understanding of yourself. After reviewing the history of human thought, philosopher Aldous Huxley said, there is only one question of importance: "Who am I and what, if anything, can I do about it?" Self knowledge is the starting point. Doing something about involves using what you know to lead others. As Machiavelli once wrote, "To lead or attempt to lead without first having a knowledge of self is foolhardy and sure to bring disaster and defeat."

So how do you do it? Here's a few steps:

  • Learn about yourself from those you trust. I've used an interesting and fun tool in group settings that forces people to talk about themselves, their strengths and their weaknesses. It's an easy way to get some initial feedback about yourself.
  • Take a qualified temperament assessment. I use the Myers-Briggs Temperament Indicator which is an excellent tool. I also recommend the DISC test. Which ever type you choose make sure someone can coach you through it and help you learn from it.
  • Learn about your strengths as well as your temperament. Marcus Buckingham's Now, Discover Your Strengths is a tremendous tool for you (and later, when you know yourself well) and your team.
  • Read. Classic literature provides some interesting character studies. Read it and you'll see how people's temperament preferences guide their lives and interactions with others. Find characters you can relate to and study how they lead and relate to others.

The hope of building a great team starts with a clear understanding of YOU. It frees you to excel at being what you are, rather than trying to be what you are not. The point is not to alter YOU but to help you see where and how you can be most effective. There's no wrong or right style. It's simply a matter of understanding yourself, capitalizing on your strengths, and maximizing people based on their strengths and natural preferences.


2 Responses to “Building a Great Team Starts with YOU”

  1. Misty Bourne says:

    Good post, Wayne. I appreciate your interest in the individual (always have)!

  2. Paul Arnold says:

    Being a visual guy, I loved the jpg (kitten/lion). Blessings on your new venture since leaving Thomas Nelson. Since we spoke in August, God has taught me a great deal. One line that Victor Wong shared with me that has stayed with me – “Never waste a crisis – learn from it.” Eager to see yours and Ron’s book come out. God bless,
    Paul Arnold, CCBC, A2

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Trust is the winsome wedding of faith and hope.

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