In almost every team locker room anywhere, there is a banner that says, “There’s No “I” in Team. The intent is clear. Don’t be selfish, and make sure you suppress your individual ego for the good of the team. But there is a possible downside to this sentiment. Imagine a swimming relay team where one of the simmers gains 30 pounds and starts smoking, or less dramatically, just doesn’t stay in the best possible condition. S/he is not likely going to help the team much. S/he is not focusing very much on being the best possible “I”.
Think of all the teams that operate in organizations. Sometimes they work in series, like a relay team, and sometimes they work in parallel like a rugby team. In all cases, they need each of the team members to maintain a maximum level of both competence and energy. In the organization sense, maximum competence means technically up to date, and a critical part of maximum energy means matching the right energy type to whatever task needs to be accomplished. There are four basic energy types (Driver, Organizer, Collaborator, Visionary), and each of us has access to all four types. We also, however, have preferences among types, so we don’t access them all the same. Learning your preference hierarchy and how to strengthen your weaker preferences is key to being the best “I” for any team. An online assessment called the FEBI will help you learn about and strengthen your energy.