Winning as a team is better than anything. It’s great to share success. – Jim Harbaugh
What does that mean?
This quote is by a sports legend in American Football. As a player, he is known for a great college career, being a first round draft pick, a Pro Bowl honoree, and a winner of a division championship. He is also a coach of some note, having won college titles, multiple bowl games, and as a Pro coach, having most recently battled his brother (also a coach) in Super Bowl XLVII.
I’m not sure when he said this, but even as a player, he was a leader, and this is a quote from a leader. Yes, we each need to strive to be our best, but we all do better as part of a team. Our strengths help those who need help, and they help us where we need strength. Humans, at heart, are social or team creatures.
And the ultimate reward of working as a team is sharing in the success. When we triumph as an individual, we celebrate alone, or with a few close friends. However, when we triumph as a team, the celebration is multiplied as our teammates and friends join in. And that’s a joy we remember for life.
Why is teamwork important?
To start, we are all on Team Human. That should mean something to us all. Yes, we might have cross words for our teammates from time to time, but that’s part of the game, and part of life. It’s not always smiles and victory parties, right?
Then there are the differences. On Team Human, there are very few rules that are universally accepted. The penalties are hard to enforce, and the refs blow a lot of calls. But it’s the best game on the planet, and staying home won’t help anyone win, much less improve their game.
Even among those who agree to our rules, there will be disagreements about the little things. The question is do we want to celebrate the different approaches and methods, or do we want to berate them? Which is better for the team?
It might not be best for you, but are you big enough to let the team try, and give it your best, even if you believe it’s doomed? That takes a real team player, and when someone else does that for you, do you ever take the time to thank them?
Where can I apply this in my life?
Teamwork is part of everyday life, including the drive to work. Even in places where the drivers seem to follow no rules, they are still on the same team. People, motorcycles, carts, cars, trucks and trains all rush about.
Yes, there will always be accidents. But the fancy dance as the people and vehicles move to their destinations should demonstrate the ability of Team Human to work well together, even if they aren’t planning on doing it, right?
In my opinion, life is much better when we remember that we’re all on the same team, even when others seem to have forgotten. Or especially when others seem to have forgotten. I would imagine it has happened to you, when someone is actively working against you.
Often they’ve forgotten their allegiance to Team Human, and are working for a much smaller team, a team that sees you as their rival. It might even be just a team of one. But you don’t have to roll over for them, you can still work for what you want, but try not to see them as the enemy, but a rival.
There is a subtle difference between a rival and an enemy, right? Enemies are to be crushed, exterminated, driven into the barren wastelands and their treasure is to be looted! Well, I exaggerated a little, but a rival is usually treated a little better, right? Do you feel different describing someone as a rival as opposed to an enemy?
Sharing the success is a big part of being on a team. Even those who were working to try a different method, or who may have slowed the team down at some point are still part of the victory. Yes, it’s great to be on the winning team, especially when your idea or method was part of the victory.
Also remember that at times, you will be the person on the outside. You will be the person who slowed the team down, or convinced them to try something that didn’t work. Be grateful to be included, and celebrate the victory, even if it is the victory of another, even a rival.
In the end, I believe that trying to spend as much time on Team Human as possible will help us all in the long run. Even if it is a little unpleasant in the short term. What are you willing to do for the team?