Our success depends as much on our relationships with others as it does on our knowledge, skills, and abilities. However, American culture teaches us to celebrate independence, self-reliance, self-sufficiency, self-interest, and self-determination. Individualism is one of our core principles. James Coleman, one of the most influential social scientists of our generation called individualism “a broadly perpetrated fiction of modern society.” When we rely solely on the individual we miss out on the potential inherent in the synergy derived from differences in talent and capabilities.
The essence of teamwork is the willingness to cooperate, to get outside of one’s self and do whatever it takes to accomplish the goals of the team. To do this is extremely difficult. This is the primary challenge of team leadership.