We > Me is a mantra of high school and junior high teams throughout the country. I’ve seen it on at least 100 shirts in the past several years. It’s one thing to wear the shirt; it’s another thing to wear the sweat. Building a “we over me” team is more complex than it sounds. Many days, it takes a level of intentionality that challenges even the most seasoned leaders. Let me ask you two quick questions: What has been your strategy for recruiting team players? Has it been effective?
We live in a hyper-individualistic culture. In Mark Sayer’s book series Disappearing and Reappearing Church, Sayers suggests a small yet widely held set of beliefs rooted in a singular value. He says, “The highest good (in this culture) is individual freedom, happiness, self-definition, and self-expression.” He continues, “the primary social ethic is tolerance of everyone’s self defined quest for individual freedom and self expression. Any deviation from this ethic of tolerance is dangerous and must not be tolerated.” With this in clear focus, the idea of building a We > Me culture is more complex than ever.
Even though we know we are swimming upstream, the MULTIPLi team focuses on recruiting team players and building exceptional teams. Like Tim Elmore promotes in his Habitudes series, we want symphony leaders, not soloist leaders. The picture is simple; soloists focus on their and their parts alone. They train, prepare and perform for a solo act. They ask subconscious questions like, “what’s in it for me?” They suppose they are the main character in the movie. The problem with a soloist leader is the number one multiplied by any number yields only that number. For example, seven times one is still seven. Soloists don’t multiply. Symphony leaders, however, are team players. When team players are on board, multiplication is possible. When team players are in critical positions, multiplication is inevitable.
Here are five characteristics of team players from my personal experience:
- Team players ask great questions.
- Team players offer constant and competent feedback.
- Team players have a growth mindset and are constantly learning.
- Team players see themselves as stewards, not owners of resources and relationships.
- Team players are willing to show up for others professionally and personally.
For our team at MULTIPLi global, putting points on the board is simple: when resources and relationships yield disciples through leadership platforms, we win. This goal requires team players at the highest level. By 2032, we plan to have built a tribe of 100 leaders and platforms, making thousands of disciples in multiple nations. We like to say that multipliers travel in teams. What adjustments do you need to make to guarantee that you’re recruiting symphony leaders?