As a ‘baseball mom’ I spend many days and nights on the baseball field with teams. Each team is different. The cultures are different. The feel of the team is different. Some teams work well together and some do not. Over the years we found, as coaches, players and parents, that finding the right team player is as important as the player’s skills.
Today, as a manager and member of various business teams, I have the same experiences in the workplace. Some teams work well together, while others do not.
The Ideal Team Player
In my first book review, “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” author Patrick Lencioni described how a team can learn to work together. In his latest book, “The Ideal Team Player,” he continues to guide businesses in building their successful teams and even takes a step back to help you identify who should be a member of the team.
The ideal team player needs to possess three virtues; humility, hunger and smarts. Think of these virtues as a three-legged stool. If all three of the virtues are strong, the stool is stable and sturdy. If one of the virtues is weak, the stool will lose stability and will be wobbly. If two or more of the virtues are weak, the stool will not stand up and will break down. Think of this three-legged stool as you consider these virtues within yourself, your team members and potential team members.
The Three Virtues: Humble, Hungry and Smart
Humble. Ideal team players are humble. They lack excessive ego or concerns about status. Humble people are quick to point out contributions of others and are slow to seek attention for themselves. They share credit, emphasize the team over themselves and define success collectively rather than individually.
Hungry. Ideal team players are hungry. They are always looking for more. More things to do, more to learn and more responsibility to take on. Hungry people almost never have to be pushed by a manager to work harder because they are self-motivated and diligent. Hungry team members are constantly thinking about the next step and the next opportunity.
Smart. Ideal team players are smart. They have common sense about people. A smart team player is perceptive to what is happening in a group situation and how to deal with others in the most effective way. They have good judgment and intuition around the subtleties of group dynamics and the impact of their words and actions on others.
Build Your Winning Team
As I read “The Ideal Team Player,” I recognized why my team was struggling. Unfortunately, I did not have the ‘right’ team players. When one player does not ‘fit,’ the team is held back from success. With the guidance of the tools provided in this book, I discussed these concepts within my own team. After the discussion, the team member who was weak, chose to leave the team.
The way Lencioni wrote this book is simple and easy to read. The story line is written as a fable and brings the concepts to life. I suggest adding this book to your reading list, so you too can continue to strengthen your winning team.
Standing in the way of inspiration
Does successful business and leadership derive from creativity? Next month, Hunter Satterfield is revisiting one of his favorite inspirational and entertaining books by Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios. In “Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces that Stand in the Way of True Inspiration,” Catmull shares his journey of achieving his dream of creating the first computer-animated movie. More than a life story, he discloses the essential ingredients behind the movie’s success, a leadership and management philosophy that all of us can create in our own business.