The Ideal Team Player

By: Cornelius Dowdell & Nakesla Blount

In 2018 I was allotted the opportunity to attend Leadercast on behalf of the organization I was working for at the time. During the Leadership Seminar Patrick Lencioni spoke on Organizational Culture and identifying the right team members for your company. Inspired by the three virtues he mentioned during the short 20-minute session on identifying the ideal team player, I leaped at purchasing the audiobook because I love listening to books while driving, flying or any mode of transportation.

While revisiting this book due to the developing circumstances involved in my roles as a Human Capital Management Consultant for a few companies, I started noticing some trends when it came to Employee Onboarding, Recruitment and Retention.

Humble Hungry SmartHumble –

  • Truly humble to people to do not see themselves as greater than they are but neither do they discount their talents or contributions.
  • CS Lewis – “Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less”
  • Humble people do not have insecurities.

Hungry –

  • Self-motivated
  • A manageable and sustainable commitment for doing the job well and going above and beyond when it is truly required

Smart –

  • It is not about intellectual capacity
  • Refers to a person’s common sense about people
  • Interpersonal appropriate and aware
  • Knows what is happening in a group situation and how to deal with others in the most effective way
  • They ask good questions, listen to others, and engage.
  • Good judge and intentions about group dynamics and the impact of their words and actions
  • Interpersonal smart can be used for good or bad – some of the most dangerous leaders in the past have been known to have been Smart (People smart)

All three are needed to develop the ideal team player and without those qualities, teamwork will be even more difficult. Hiring Managers and today leaders, must absolutely know how to identify those traits in their future employees for the success of their businesses. Organizations are focusing more on working in a collaborative way than individually, thus the significance of teamwork.

Hiring the ‘good fit for the job’ is more than just a 2-3 rounds of interview. It is important that the recruiter take the necessary time to review his recruitment strategy. To identify a good team player; conduct thorough interviews with behavioral-based questions, do background checks and see how reliable the candidates were in their previous jobs. Most importantly, know how to identify red flags.

Look out for candidates who show arrogance, who prefer solo working and who blame others for the failure of a project. Developing and accessing current employees lacking in one or more of the three virtues mentioned above is also a necessary task conducted by the Talent Management teams. Hiring and developing people does not always guarantee productive and happy team members. Being able to bring team members together, increasing diversity and increasing connections is the key behind successful teams.

Strong, high-performing teams are those who focus strongly on D&I (Diversity and Inclusion) initiatives. D&I is not only about sex, age, disability, and race but is also about celebrating the uniqueness of personality traits and human preferences. Organizations and Business leaders who succeed in creating an inclusive workplace culture, are those who will most certainly enable their diverse workplace to thrive. Being able to assess your current efforts, recognizing your employees’ unique talents and building your team around their diversity and qualities, are some of the major challenges that are facing corporate leaders today.

As Patrick Lencioni said in ‘The Ideal Team Player’; “Leaders who can identify, hire, and cultivate employees who are humble, hungry, and smart will have a serious advantage over those who cannot.”

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