The “I” in TEAM Comes Holmes to Roost Again – The True Definition of Teamwork Reinforced

There are a lot of reasons why my New York Jets failed to make the National Football League Playoffs for the first time in three seasons. And, now that the season is over news reports are letting me know that I can thank Jets’ “star” receiver Santonio Holmes for reinforcing my philosophy there is an “I” in “TEAM.”

A team is made up of individuals (I’s).

These individuals have their own agenda, always! Since we all listen to the same radio station WII-FM (What’s In It For Me)

It’s individuals that decide whether to put aside their own personal egos for the good of the team.

It’s the same individuals that may decide, for whatever reason, its time to only look out for themselves and choose to no longer be a team player.

During the last week of the National Football League regular season, it is alleged that NY Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes chose to put himself ahead of his team’s chances to make the playoffs. Teammates reported that Holmes challenged quarterback Mark Sanchez in a team meeting earlier in the preparation week and then failed to attend a follow up meeting. Additionally, his demeanor and body language during the early part of the game gave indications that his heart and head were not in the right place to help the team win.

To make matters worse, Holmes was one of the team’s captains. This is obviously NO WAY to lead by example.

There is only one way to fix this problem. It is to address this issue directly and candidly with Holmes (Leadership & Workplace Communication Skill #3 “Direct & Candid Communication)

Based on initial reports it seems that the Jets leadership has chosen not taken this path. Instead they have chosen to violate Leadership Communication Sin #3, “A Lack of Directness.”

According to newspaper reports, the way the NY Jets leadership has chosen to address this is by going the non-direct manner. They have decided now, 7 months before the 2012 training camp next July, that there will no longer be team captains.

So, all the other team captains will be punished because of the act of one individual.

Once again an “I” impacts the team. Remember, I define teamwork  as, “a group or series of individual interdependent successful efforts!”

As a lifelong Jets fan I’m disappointed that the team’s leadership has chosen to address the Holmes situation in this manner. I am even more disappointed in Jets’ quarterback Mark Sanchez for his recent comments about being committed to working with Holmes, if that’s what the coaches and general manager believe is best for the future success of the team.

I’m not one for having the players telling management and coaches who should be on the team or playing, but in this instance, the quarterback needs to have the respect and the trust of the players he leads on the field every week. And, I’m not sure how anyone on the Jets can trust that Holmes will not quit on them again when things aren’t perfectly aligned for him.

There is a reason why the Pittsburgh Steelers chose to trade Holmes just one year after a Super Bowl victory in which Holmes was named MVP. And, there is a reason why the Jets are holding on to Holmes and the six years he has remaining on a $45 million contract. And, those reasons are also why in the last 45 years the Pittsburgh Steelers have played in 8 Super Bowls (matched only by the Dallas Cowboys), and the Jets just 1.

That’s the power of Leadership Communication. That’s the power of setting a high, but reasonable standards for team members.

If you’d like to raise the bar on your leadership communication and the results you achieve from your team in 2012, I encourage you to go to to learn how!

’til next time, make it a great week!

4 thoughts on “The “I” in TEAM Comes Holmes to Roost Again – The True Definition of Teamwork Reinforced

  1. Gordon McAleer says:

    Skip’s blog is real timely! This makes me think of when our son was in grad school for his MBA. He complained to us that he was assigned to a team of fellow students to work on a term long project that counted 75% of the final grade for the course. He said that certain of the team members were not in the game to pull their full weight and the other team members had to pick up the slack. I told him this was a good lesson for the work world. More firms are appreciating the power of an effective team effort and assigning critical projects to the teams. Our son needed to hunker down to do his best to assure that the team accomplished its mission and stop whinning about the slaggards. The slaggards just won’t cut it if they continue to behave this way in the real world. Gordon McAleer, McAleer & Associates

  2. Eric Sheltra says:

    A TEAM is definitley made up of “I”s, especially in the world of elite performers whether in business or in a sporting venue. It is up to each individual on that team to pull to the best of their respective abilities regardless of the distractions going on around them. Production equals talent minus distractions. I agree with standing by your leadership no matter what. Lessons learned from Special Forces Ops tells of following the team lead to conclusion of the mission regardless of your personal insights. In Santonio’s case he should be pulled aside and reintroduced to the Team Mission and Goal and the Rules of The Game to get there on this particular bus. Or find another bus you fit better with after your obligations have been met.

  3. Skip Weisman, Workplace Communication Expert says:

    Thank you for stopping by my blog and being inspired to leave a comment. Any lessons learned from Special Forces Ops are welcome here and can certainly add value to my discussions.

  4. Skip Weisman, Workplace Communication Expert says:

    Thanks, again for commenting here. I appreciate your story. As some others have written in my posts on LinkedIn regarding this issue, sometimes those slackers can become a distraction and take away from the focus, energy and motivation of those left to pick up the slack. That’s when the remaining team members must step up and decide to move forward and raise their game. Good advice! Thanks, again!

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