Beware the Hero
After spending quite a few years assembling and building production teams—a common denominator of sorts has risen to the top: I’ve never encountered a hero who’s been a team player.
The hero mentality has become something I actually look for now when I meet a new person. You know the type: the one who always has the right answer and will argue for it at any given moment, the person who always interjects their opinion a wee bit too quick or maybe the one who kind of “forgets” the team when it’s time for the pat on the back. How about the one who pulls the martyr card when it comes to getting it done? Perhaps this sounds familiar? “Well, I guess it’s just up to me, I’ll take one for the team.” Sure thing Eeyore, knock yourself out.
The “hero” portrays themselves as a valuable team player when convenient but is usually a self-serving, do-it-my-own-way kind of person who believes they might be better without the team as they are only a hindrance to their success. This person seems to always want their fair share of the credit, or may want to forego a discussion amongst the group because they already know that theirs is the ONLY way to go—forget the discussion, forget the process, forget the inclusion of the group.
When we’re developing a real team, you encounter and savor the shared experiences, you cultivate the building and training process because it makes you better as a whole. We should be looking to build a team where the sum is better than the parts—the “hero” isn’t a personality trait that has a place within this structure.
These days, I’m hoping to realize that when we succeed, we did so based on the strength, skill set, and synergy of what my team did together. All my various production teams over the years have only served to make me better—in fact, some of us owe a huge debt for our place within the team all these years. On a personal level, it’s helped forge me into who I am—allowing me to do things much bigger and better than if I had donned a do-it-myself, hero mentality. Were these teams always perfect? Not at all—but through the failures and successes, we almost always found a greater strength from the output of the team than if we all had gone it alone.
One of our pastors, Ethan Vanse, tweeted this recently and it really quantifies this writing, “In building teams, I have learned that a person can choose to get all the credit OR work with people who make them better. You cannot have both.” Well said.