February 2016 | By Hala Bissada, CFRE

Hala Inc - There is an I in Team

You probably have heard the phrase “there is no “I” in team” more times than can be counted. The question remains, is there or isn’t there? Perhaps there isn’t, but there is an “I” in Individuality and Independence, both important qualities to be an effective team member and to shine in a group environment.

It is important to stay true to yourself when sharing your insights and opinions. I do not believe it is either helpful or healthy to say what you think people want to hear—conformity is a slippery slope.

Use your unique skills, talents, and energy to contribute to the shared vision and achieve the established goals. Take ownership of your assigned responsibilities to successfully plan and execute the project.

Below I have identified qualities I look for when putting together a team.


Share your opinions, insights, knowledge, and experience actively, openly, and willingly. Understand your strengths and weaknesses and capitalize on your strengths. Don’t be afraid to think big.


Once the shared vision and the goals have been communicated and are understood, take the ball and run with it. I trust that I can rely on individual team members to take the initiative to get their work done within set deadlines and in accordance with acceptable standards. Strong team members care about the quality of the work they produce and want others to do the same. Demonstrate your commitment by attending all meetings. Be prepared and be on time. Go above and beyond and pitch in when possible to help other team members.


Always be transparent, honest, and truthful. Treat others with respect. Have a sense of humour and enjoy yourself, but not at others expense. Check your ego at the door.


Listen actively. It is important to understand other points of view and consider ideas presented by others. Ensure you understand what you are hearing and don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. Communicate constructively—speak up and express your thoughts and ideas clearly. Don’t blame others. It is important to share any challenges you are encountering and obtain input from the group on how to resolve any issues–this should not be looked upon as a weakness. Be a problem-solver—come to the table with viable solutions. Don’t overcommunicate—keep your reports to what is essential to share.


Events are fluid with many interrelated moving parts. A good team player can roll with the punches and adapt to ever-changing situations. In addition, they are able to provide recommendations and insights to assist in dealing with whatever situations may arise.

While the foregoing attributes are vital to being an effective team player who maintains his/her individuality and independence, creating a cohesive and successful team starts with ensuring the right leadership is in place. A leader must lead from a position of strength and respect. S/he should have an innate ability to connect with people and ignite the talent that surrounds them. The leader must invest the time to understand what makes their team members tick and what is required to motivate them and instill excitement. S/he should work with the team members to develop goals, establish the vision, and clearly define roles and responsibilities.

Understanding the spirit of collaboration and building trust is essential. Finally, the team leader must acknowledge and reward their team members and celebrate success.

There is an “I” in Team…embrace and celebrate your individuality and your contributions will speak for themselves.


This article was originally published in the February 2016 issue of Canadian Special Events Magazine.

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