The “I” in Team

There are many versions of you.

I might be two dozen people in a given week. Though they share many traits, they’re distinct. Unfairly, many of them reap the benefits of the hard work of others, and some are punished for things others did.

For instance, many times a week there is an Industrious Johnny, who works very hard to make money. That version of me rarely, if ever, sees the reward of that labor. Instead, Dad Johnny who relaxes on Sundays and plays with his kids gets that benefit. And Sunday night, after the kids are in bed, Movie Buff Johnny swore he’d get a head start on Monday’s work so that Industrious Johnny could get a little break, but (unsurprisingly) that jerk just watched a movie instead. But does Movie Buff Johnny pay the price for his sloth? Ha, no way! He enjoyed watching The Truman Show for the eighty-seventh time (seriously, he loves that movie) and hadn’t a care in the world.

Sometimes Hungry Johnny has to eat, but it’s Working Johnny that picks up his tab. Happy-With-Himself-In-The-Mirror Johnny reaps all the rewards from Workout Johnny’s efforts, and Workout Johnny has to work extra hard when Weakness-For-Twix-Bars Johnny indulges.

Now, Movie Buff Johnny and Weakness-For-Twix-Bars Johnny aren’t bad guys. They’re crucial for the morale of the team. You just can’t put them in charge.

Fortunately, there’s a Principled Life Plan Johnny. He’s far from perfect, but he’s doing a pretty good job with this ragtag group of misfits. And that’s what it’s all about – managing the team. Because almost all versions of Johnny don’t actually get what they deserve; they all usually work hard and get no benefits, or get benefits but don’t work hard, or make mistakes others pay for, and so on. If there wasn’t a good manager at the helm, they’d riot.

When you see people who lack discipline in their lives, maybe it’s just a failure of leadership. Their Workout Steve or whoever got tired of busting his hump just for Six Pack Steve to constantly ruin it, because there was no Principled Life Plan Steve to tell Six Pack Steve to take it easy. And Six Pack Steve hasn’t even met Dies-Early-From-Liver-Failure Steve yet, so he doesn’t really care about that guy.

Your mission, as Principled Life Plan You, is to manage this team the way any good team leader would. You mentor the good team members and help them grow, giving them the tools to succeed and promoting them to positions of greater authority and influence. You help put other people in the roles where they perform the best and make the best contributions to the team: Movie Buff Johnny is great for team morale in small doses, but I have to be careful not to let him take over when it’s supposed to be Workout Johnny’s shift. Sometimes you have to make hard calls and fire people, even if you like them, because it’s what’s best for the team. Liquor Johnny used to be a really fun guy, but he just wasn’t a team player.

When the team is managed well, their needs and abilities considered and the overall health of the team made a priority, everybody wins.

This has been Blogging Johnny, signing off. See you tomorrow.

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