As I write my articles I find myself correcting my writing based upon the counseling session I had with a manager many years ago. He did not like it when I referred to my direct reports as “My Team.” He wanted me to say “The Team”. I didn’t like saying that. Even as I write today, I find myself changing “my” to “the” and back again.
So the question I’ve struggled with is – which is correct to say – “My Team” OR “The Team?”
I understand my manager’s reasoning for saying “The Team.” To him, “My Team” sounds like I own them. It sounds like I am a dictator. In order to convey teamwork, he liked “The Team.”
His analogy was that we were a baseball team with each person having their position to play. He believed that if each person did their job we functioned well as a team. If one person messed up, then somehow “The Team” protected them.
I didn’t see it that way. I thought the baseball concept left “My Team” members vulnerable. It is too easy to point fingers at the pitcher, or first baseman and blame him/her for a bad play.
To me, saying “The Team” shows a disconnection between myself and the people I supervise. What was important to me was to demonstrate that I am their leader, I am out in front, I take responsibility for them and I stand up for them. If anyone criticized anyone in the department they had to come through me.
I am part of them!
I suspect our different perceptions was a gender issue. He was concerned that each player/team member had autonomy over their position. He wanted us to be equalitarian. I was more concerned about the connections between all of the team members and how the interaction between the team member’s impacted the entire department’s performance.
He saw individuals. I saw one entity.
We went back and forth on this issue for many months but I now consider the issue settled. I decided that since this is “My Blog”, then I’m gonna say “My Team.”
Empowered women are not dictators and can say “My Team.”
I want to hear your thoughts and opinions so leave a comment!!
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