In 2001 Russell with David Falkner, published a fantastic book on leadership, Russell Rules. In his book Coach, Russell defines the difference between a "We Ego" and a "Me Ego":
"In 1999, I was asked to speak to the Celtics team, which, at that point, was on a nine-game losing streak and were not playing well as a unit. I began by telling them that despite that so much had been written about me being the most unselfish player, I was the most egotistical player they would ever meet.
All kinds of nervous smiles were coming back at me from people who were not sure what was coming next. These smiles disappeared when I said, "Do you know the difference between your ego and mine? My ego is not a personal ego, it's a team ego. My ego demands—for myself—the success of my team. My personal achievement became my team achievement.
These talented young players all looked at me with strange expressions on their faces. I could almost read their minds. Here was Bill Russell, the guy with eleven championship rings on his ten fingers, telling them that the only thing that mattered to him was how his team did. But that's exactly what I was saying."
Coach Wooden only recruited people he felt could ultimately become team (We Ego) players.He said: "Working with others makes us much more than we could ever become alone."
Individuals can only reach their full potential if the group does well. Being a great salesperson is meaningless if the company goes out of business. Building a "We Ego" team requires humble, transparent leadership and an environment that is collaborative.
As Coach Wooden liked to say: "It's amazing how much can be accomplished if no one is concerned with who gets the credit."
Including yourself, who on your team has a "Me Ego"? Who has a "We Ego"?