The world needs more people who think like Mary’s dad. I suspect your immediate response is Who’s Mary’s dad? And how does he think? Let me elaborate.
My wife and I recently caught up with a friend whom we had not seen in a several years. This person had been a wonderful mentor to my wife. It was great talking with him and hearing everything that was going on in his life.
Our friend mentioned that his daughter, Mary, was doing especially well.
Mary had graduated college and was living in New York City. She was thriving in her new job, which she seemed to love, and growing her social circle. As if that weren’t enough, an article she wrote had just been published in a prominent national magazine. Mary’s life was headed in an exciting direction.
Her father commented that his ambition was to be known as “Mary’s dad.” What a wonderful perspective!
Good teammates think like Mary’s dad. They aspire to be identified as their successful teammate’s teammate. They aren’t jealous or resentful of the label. In fact, being identified in this manner is a tremendous source of happiness for them because they want their actions to propel the success of those around them.
When you invest in the members of your team you cannot help but feel a connection to their success.
Mary’s dad has achieved plenty in his own right and has much to be proud of. But individual success isn’t what drives him. He wants to help the other members of his team (family) achieve. He wants his daughter’s success to reach a point where it overshadows his. He wants to be known as “Mary’s dad.”
Teams can be consumed by toxicity when members become jealous of each other’s individual success. Egos grow fragile and referring to someone as so and so’s teammate can be a divisive insult.
Mary’s dad was comfortable enough to share an egoless relationship with his daughter. He sacrificed to provide her with opportunities. He encouraged her to pursue greatness and conveyed his belief in her ability to do so. He empowered her with confidence. But he respected the fact that she was the one who ultimately made it happen.
Mary’s dad didn’t try to put an asterisk beside his daughter’s success. He didn’t claim credit for it, and he didn’t try to live vicariously through her. He simply took pride in his contributions.
In other words, he didn’t live through her, he lived for her. His intention was for his contributions to lead to his daughter’s success.
Do you care enough about your teammates to help them succeed? Are you comfortable enough with your own contributions to aspire to be known as your teammate’s teammate? If you are truly a good teammate, then the answer is yes.
As always…Good teammates care. Good teammates share. Good teammates listen. Go be a good teammate.