Are you a team player? I know what you’re saying to yourself… where are we going with this, aren’t you? Sure you are, but now you want to see where I’m going… so here we go.
Well, if your answer is “No,” take a moment and think again. If you are alive, you’re on a team. Maybe it’s your family, your relationships, your business, or your church or community. But no matter how you look at it, you are a member of a team.
If you ask people about the most worthwhile experiences in their lives, they will usually come up with something they did as part of a team. Sometimes it’s a sports team, but more often it’s a business team, or family members, or some other group that was helping each other achieve a common goal.
You can sit on the bench and watch, or you can get up and play. My advice to you is be a player. Get involved. Have a say in calling the plays. Participate! It’s a lot more fun and, yes, you’re right, it’s more work, too. But remember, the more you give, the more you’ll get. What do you care about? What’s important to you? There are other people out there who care about that, too. Why not join with them in a common cause?
You know, personal power is a fine thing, but the ultimate power is the tremendous energy created by people working together. No one can make your unique contribution, and no, they won’t get along just fine without you.
So, what are you waiting for? You are a team player. Now all you need to do is find your team… As a leader, do you honor and appreciate the power of WE? Do you stop to thank and recognize the members of your team? Do you consistently show an attitude of gratitude? When you do, you make the people you are thanking feel like a “million dollars”, and do you know what? They will be there for you whenever you ask. Why? Because you show your gratitude and appreciation.
The story of Charles Plumb is inspiring and emphasizes the value of each individual of a team. Captain Charles Plumb, a graduate of the Naval Academy, whose plane, after 74 successful combat missions over North Vietnam, was shot down. He parachuted to safety, but was captured, tortured and spent 2,103 days in a small box-like cell.
After surviving the ordeal, Captain Plumb received the Silver Star, Bronze Star, the Legion of Merit and two Purple Hearts, and returned to America and spoke to many groups about his experience and how it compared to the challenges of everyday life.
Shortly after coming home, Charlie and his wife were sitting in a restaurant. A man rose from a nearby table, walked over and said, “You’re Plumb! You flew
jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!”
Surprised that he was recognized, Charlie responded, “How in the world did you know that?” The man replied, “I packed your parachute.” Charlie looked up with surprise. The man pumped his hand, gave a thumbs-up, and said, “I guess it worked!”
Charlie stood to shake the man’s hand, and assured him, “It most certainly did work. If it had not worked, I would not be here today.”
Charlie could not sleep that night, thinking about the man. He wondered if he might have seen him and not even said, “Good morning, how are you?” He thought of the many hours the sailor had spent bending over a long wooden table in the bottom of the ship, carefully folding the silks and weaving the shrouds of each chute, each time holding in his hands the fate of someone he didn’t know.
Plumb then began to realize that along with the physical parachute, he needed mental, emotional and spiritual parachutes. He had called on all these supports during his long and painful ordeal. So it is, as a leader, how many times a day, a week, a month, do we pass up the opportunity to thank those people in our lives and organizations who are “packing our parachutes?” Pretty simple isn’t it?
Remember, it’s in your hands.