Team Player or Individual?

This post was prompted by the message contained within the sketch below. I’ve often wondered about the virtues of being a good team player. As I’ve previously asked about the sanity of hiring, firing or promoting myself I’ll now continue that line of internalisation and query myself if I’m a good team player or not.

In life, we all have to be good team players at certain points or phases of our lives. A lot more often than we’d like to admit. Think of it this way… you’re on the bus/ train/ plane/ ferry/ taxi to work. You decide you no longer want to be part of the team. Will you arrive at work on time if you find a way of leaving the team transport? Yes, whether we like it or not… our maverick freewheeling spirits have to conform from time to time.

I’ll put it another way. Some years ago I was penalised, during my annual performance review, for having the ability of leaving my team behind when they’re too slow. This was gobbledygook HR speak for telling me I’m a failure at considering the lazy folk on my team’s best business needs. So, because the powers that be are looking for a target I get apprised negatively for the underperformance of team equals? How? Let’s just write that little mess off to cultural difference and ignorance of the work ethics and sensibilities of others. HR… yes, they really know how to make enemies and alienate people.

OH well, I’ve now dragged HR into the post as well. These little irritations in life seem to crop up from time to time. So, why did HR crop up? Because on the same day I first spotted the team player poster on LinkedIn someone else had liked a post titled

“Why We No Longer Need HR Departments”  

Do please click on the link for a rather enlightening and accurate appraisal of the system. The author, Bernard Marr, knows his stuff and if only half the companies I’d ever worked in take his advice the planet may be twice as well off. Sometimes, when we contemplate all the wise philosophy’s postulated about the work place, it’s best to fall back on the good old English language… do look up the definition of feckless… or for a shortcut just click here

Well, now I’ve really got the better of myself. My alter-ego’s head is spinning at about 2224 revs per minute. Yes, I’m a good team player… if I’m left to my own devices. Another analogy? There’s a great South African cricketer who is often accused of being selfish and only focusing on his own personal needs and not those of the team.

I’ll put it this way, had Mr Jacques Kallis not played the way he has during the last 18 odd years the South African team would NEVER have become the number one test playing nation on the planet. Take a look at his stats (tests only)… no team on the planet has an equal or, for that matter, has had one in the past decade and a half.

Test runs… 13140, test wickets… 288, test catches… 198.

There have been other cricketing greats in the same period… but not ONE that does it all. He can play his own selfish game all day for all I care… the TEAM wins!! The team benefits… the team grows strong, the team tastes success more often than others. Why? Because there is an “I” in team… if you let it happen or allow for that “I” for individualism!!

The "I" in TEAM!!

For those who think I’m biased… I’ll give you my list of greats and those who may still earn the endearment in time… obviously, as a South African, there’ll be a few names (on and off) that may upset others… so, I’d likely throw in another wee subdivision but let’s get going with a top 5 list of the last 20 years…

Jacques Kallis, Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Shane Warne, Muttiah Muralitharan

Some that may just make the list in time… (all now retired)

Courtney Walsh, Glenn McGrath, Shaun Pollock, Rahul Dravid, Curtly Ambrose

Top 5 still playing…

Graeme Smith, MS Dhoni, Shiv Chanderpaul, AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Dale Steyn

Then… just to show how unbiased I am… a TOP 5 South African list…

Allan Donald, Keppler Wessels, Gary Kirsten, Mark Boucher, many more… too many!

Final note: Remember… I said the last TWENTY years. I can think of others but top ten lists are a tad OTT, don’t you think?

Final, final note: My appreciation to 5-year-old GSK for the assistance with the art work… it took a few attempts but this version will just have to do… some team we form!

About aj vosse

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8 Responses to Team Player or Individual?

  1. joanfrankham says:

    not biased at all, what about Hansie Cronje in his early days?


    • aj vosse says:

      Hansie… I may add him. He was good but I’m not sure I’d have made him a great. His stats were OK… what is expected of a modern test cricketer… however, he was a rather good captain. So, maybe he’d sneak into the top 10? 😉 Good guy altogether… pity life has these anomalies!!


  2. V says:

    Well I certainly hope your opinion about nobody needing a HR department doesn’t catch on, otherwise I’ll be out of a job.


    • aj vosse says:

      No… you’d find the right balance!! Read your man’s article where he suggests what there should be in place. I think you’d fit well into up-skilling and development of folk! 😉


      • V says:

        I’d much rather go that route, to be sure! That’s what it was all about back in the days when we were just called “Personnel”. I can’t disagree completely with your man’s article at all as the natural evolution here where I am has been to make HR a support system for Operations. Its biggest function seems to be to protect the Ops people and the Company and ensure they don’t do or say anything that could result in an employee suing, which happens a lot. Then again I’m in a heavily unionised environment so the need for a HR/Employee relationship is sort of obsolete.


        • aj vosse says:

          Your last sentence says it all. I don’t want to be in your shoes… I could never work in that kind of environment… too much of a free thinker and maverick to bow and scrape to the demands of the union bosses… again, I envy you not! 😉


          • V says:

            They’re a different breed AJ, they really are! Their wings have been clipped a lot lately because otherwise the company would be going under. I think unions are on their last legs in this country.


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