I really love this post from Farnam Street. In a few short paragraphs, it:
- Asserts that the people that we surround ourselves with, either by choice or circumstance, matter
- Challenges the idea of the lone genius, reminding us that we’re not self made, that the educational system, public projects like our system of roads and highways, and collaborative efforts like the internet all played a part in getting us where we are
- And beautifully illustrates the importance of teamwork and collaboration, as well as what makes a great team
Stop me if this sounds familiar. There is a person who toils alone for years in relative obscurity before finally cracking the code to become a hero. The myth of the lone genius. It’s the stuff of Disney movies.
Of course, we all have moments when we’re alone and something suddenly clicks. We’d do well to remember, though, that in those moments, we are not as independent as we like to think. The people we surround ourselves with matter.
In part, because we tell ourselves the story of the lone genius, we under-appreciate the role of a team. Sure, the individual matters, no doubt. However, the individual contributions are supercharged by the team around them.
We operate in a world where it’s nearly impossible to accomplish anything great as an individual. When you think about it, you’re the product of an education system, a healthcare system, luck, roads, the internet and so much more. You may be smart but you’re not self-made. And at work, most important achievements require a team of people working together.
The leader’s job is to get the team right. Getting the team right means that people are better as a group than as individuals. Now this is important. Step back and think about that for a second — the right teams make every individual better than they would be on their own.