Cultivating Teams and Team Players
Remember those posters stating T.E.A.M. (Together Everyone Achieves More)? Though frequently dismissed as trite, there remains an element of truth in the statement. Teams are vitally important to every work culture. When those teams are working together well, the dynamic feels seamless, even natural. When the team dynamic is lacking or dysfunctional, it becomes an imperative to shift the dynamic back in a positive direction as soon as possible.
Cultivating Team Players
The first step to getting things on track is looking at the members of the team and assessing what’s working and what’s not. As you begin, know that each of the individuals on the team have unique life and work experiences and perspectives that impact how they behave as individuals and as members of a group. Even slight differences in one person’s worldview can create the potential for discord.
Knowing this, it makes sense to cultivate teams made up of people who naturally provide immediate value and require minimal coaching and management to contribute in the best ways. Patrick Lencioni, author of “The Ideal Team Player How to Recognize and Cultivate the Three Essential Virtues” offers some advice. According to Lencioni, the three virtues great team players have in common are being humble, hungry and smart.
Humble – Humility is one of the most important virtues of a team player. A humble attitude places the success of the team ahead of getting individual credit for personal contributions. Humble people can acknowledge the skills and talents they bring to the team without being boastful or proud.
Hungry – People who are hungry want to work hard and help the team succeed. They are self-motivated and diligent. These are the team members who volunteer to take on additional responsibilities and are always looking for other ways to contribute to the team.
Smart – This is defined as wise rather than intelligent, particularly when it comes to working with other people. Smart team members understand the dynamics of a group and the nuances of each member of the team. They consistently apply good judgement and intuition to situations to create the most-effective outcome.
Building a Successful Team
Ideal team players must have all three attributes. If a team member lacks one of these important skills, imbalance and trouble will ensue. Someone lacking in hunger will do the least amount possible to get the job done while remaining under the radar. An individual lacking in humility will boast and brag, making every conversation about them. A team member without smarts lacks the ability to judge a situation, failing to consider the needs of the team.
Now that you know what to look for, it’s time to assess your team. Help employees understand the importance of the three virtues and demonstrate where they might need to build these skills. Cultivating these important attributes can help a team work together more effectively, overcome problems quicker and accomplish more in a shorter amount of time.