How can you feel like a team player if no one gives you a jersey?

  • Brooksley Born provides an example.
    During her tenure as chairperson of a U.S. federal agency which oversees the commodity options markets, Born was especially concerned about swaps, financial instruments that are traded over the counter between banks, insurance companies or other firms, with little transparency. She recommended that new regulations be implemented but was strenuously opposed by the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury. As a result, the lack of oversight eventually contributed to the catastrophic financial events of 2008 where millions of people lost their jobs, their retirement funds, and their homes.
    When later asked why the ‘boys’ of Wall Street, the White House, and other regulatory bodies ignored her concerns and accused her of not being a ‘team player’, Born responded with, “… never saw them issue a uniform and so I didn’t feel as though I was being invited to be part of the team.”
    The sport analogy is obvious. A uniform (or jersey) shows people playing on the same team – sharing the same interests, working towards the same goals, and caring for one another.
    The lesson for all leaders is that they too should create identifiable symbols that communicate ‘same team’ and who are on it – especially helpful for those individuals that are seen as ‘outsiders’ and often opposing conventional thinking. Wearing the same ‘uniform‘means having the right to challenge group thinking without the stigma of being seen as ‘disloyal’ or not a team player.
    It may not be enough to avert future financial crises but it’s a good start to collaborative


About PMC Coaching The founder of PMC Coaching, Gilles Rochefort, B. Comm (SPAD), MBA, began with roots in sports management and moved on to multi-national business, working for many years as a management consultant/trainer for a host of Fortune 500 companies. He’s also the author of Tales from the Playing Field – a new strategy for Business Management Coaching (Woodley & Watts).