NUMBER 96 on Forbes’ 100 Best Quotes on Leadership reads:
“My responsibility is getting all my players playing for the name on the front of the jersey, not the one on the back.”
The author is unknown. I wish they weren’t, because they need a lesson in team management.
The goal is not to get players to be “selfless”, that is, to give up their values and goals for the sake of the team, but rather to make sure all players’ respective values and goals are aligned with the team’s. Then they’re playing for themselves and the team, as they should be. There should never be a conflict between a player and the team they play for. How could that work well?
When a player thus aligned puts them-self on the line, takes a hit, makes a pass, or brings a team mate into play, they’re not making a sacrifice; They’re doing what’s best for the team, which is best for them as an individual too.
The famous musketeer motto is apt; “All for one and one for all”.
And if anyone trots out that crappy poster, “There’s no “I” in T.E.A.M.”, I’ll tear it down. There are only “I”s in a team.
As I wrote in Ego Is Not A Dirty Word,
“Don’t ask your people to be “selfless” for the good of the team. Instead, create a culture where everyone is vested in the team’s successful outcomes. Then you can rely on their respective, self-interested effort to move the team forward.”