It can be very easy to think, lead, and coach a “team” as its’ own entity. The problem with this approach is it can be dangerous to treat the group or subgroups of individuals within that team as one.

How many times have you heard…“There is no ‘I’ in team?” Danielle LaPorte Quote

While I’m hopeful this saying has become a thing of the past and that leaders don’t buy in to that baloney, this thinking lives on. Why do I think it is baloney? When we are talking business, team does matter, but who makes up that team? Individuals—which is a whole bunch of “I’s.”

Each of these individuals is unique, which is why it is dangerous to accept the myriad of labels used for the people on your team. We have Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, and of course the newest group in the workforce, the Millennials.

Labeling these groups within your team can diminish your efforts in helping each person to succeed. Group labels and stereotypes kill progress, allow for complacency to grow, and stall sales.

Here’s how I hear labeling used from managers:

  • I can’t get any of these Millennials to take my entry level job. They don’t find it meaningful enough for them.
  • All the Gen X-ers on my team are so critical of the company, policies, and me.
  • My Baby Boomers are stuck in the land of dinosaurs and fight me on using technology to be more efficient. They’re so stuck in the 80’s!
  • The guys on my team just don’t get caught up in the emotions of things.
  • Oh, she’s just hormonal, I’ll wait until it passes before I talk to her again about the issue.
  • His tree hugging mentality is eroding my profitability.

When I look at these statements, do you know what I see besides generalizations? Excuses! Excuses for not successfully leading a team of diverse individuals to get things done.

As a leader, isn’t that our job, to get things done? Our job is to accomplish the mission/goals through others. As sales leaders, our job is to make quota, increase our customer base, and bring profitable business to our company.

Of course, it would be easy if everyone was just like us and we knew what they needed for communication, motivation, and resources. But, how unrealistic is that? When, in the history of business, has everyone on a team been exactly the same?

Instead our success comes when we help the individuals on the team perform. We need to get to know each person’s motivators, needs, talents, and fears to coach and lead them to be their best.

We will always have differences among the individuals on our teams; race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, political affiliation, age, education, and style. People are unique and the sooner we embrace that and manage the team goals by coaching and leading individuals or the “I’ in the team,” the more successful we will be.

p.s. Evolution lives on. Millennials aren’t the end. There’s a new term starting to brew… Generation Z. These people were born since about 2000 and have their label, but don’t yet have their characteristics defined or stereotyped. But I’m sure it’s just a matter of time. 

4 Success Drivers You Need to Know...and Grow


How do you strengthen this "Will" among your sales associates? How does the lack of drive impact your daily life? I discussed this and so much more on a recent virtual training event you can access below. It's valuable information for any business leader who needs to maximize performance of their people to grow their company.

Click here to access the replay.