Be A Better Leader – Be An Ideal Team Player

by Dec 30, 2016

Building a good team can certainly be challenging. Many times the success of a project is directly influenced by how robust your team is. Teams have to inspire, innovate, and collaborate to launch a successful project. Many times projects fail because the team is lacking in the characteristics that it needs to success. In the book Be An Ideal Team Player, Patrick Lencioni tells a compelling story about a construction company going through hard times, and exploring their team’s anatomy. If you enjoy a good story, I recommend you read this book about this teams’ journey to understanding what it takes to be an ideal team player. Essentially, the book explains the 3 key ingredients to being a great team player.


Hungry team members have a passion for getting the job done. However, sometimes if hunger is the only quality that a person has, they can be like a bull in a china shop. Having the thirst to do the job, isn’t a bad quality. However, when you bulldoze everyone that gets in your way – it could be a  problem. The key with hunger is balancing it out with the other two characteristics of being a team player, humble and smart. Hunger combined with humbleness enables a person to think of others, moreover, combined with smart enables them to channel their hunger in a way that will be the best for the team.


Being humble is an amazing quality. However being humble to the point that you think less of yourself, doesn’t help anyone. Especially when it comes to being a team player.  “Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself — less.” said Patrick Lencioni at the Global Leadership Summit. I can definitely relate to this as I always struggle with my humble-meter. If I’m not careful, I can hurt my team by not using my best skills to help. [bctt tweet=”A person who denies their skills and plays down their responsibilities.” username=”planitonapostit”] When you think of yourself less, you bring out an amazing opportunity to help other people and help them achieve their goals. This is a very important characteristic of a team player.

“Lacking self-confidence is a violation of humility.” – Patrick Lencioni


When you think of smart, you immediately think of someone that is intellectually smart. However, smart in the context of a characteristic of the ideal team player is someone that is a charmer. Someone that knows how to get what they want, and can say all the right things to get what they want. A smartie. Having someone with a smart sense is a good quality of a team player if combined with the other two characteristics, however on its own, it could mean that that person is thinking of nothing but themselves.

How can these qualities help you build a great team?

If you want the best ideal team player, each person should exhibit all of these qualities. If you find that some of your team members only show themselves in one of two of the areas, then it might not be a bad idea to revisit these qualities with that person in an effort for them to change their ways. If you are building a new team, aim for each person having these qualities. If you have an existing team, then work on the areas in which they are lacking. Point being, we shouldn’t be tolerating anyone who is lacking any of these areas. It ultimately brings down the team.

In Be An Ideal Team Player, team development is very important. When we develop members of our team we need to talk to them and coach them towards the qualities that we would like to see. If they continue to work on it, they will get better. If they opt out, then it won’t be fun for them at all. Identifying key questions that bring out the hungry, humble, and smart aspects of people in interviews, can be key to ensuring that you hire the right people.


I really enjoyed reading Patrick Lencioni’s book, Be An Ideal Team Player. It really helped me to understand a little bit about me as a team player, and understand what I should look for in my team. For me, although I can find myself in all of these qualities, I tend to struggle with humbleness. I’m glad that this book helped bring this to light so that I can continue to work in being a better leader and team player. What are your thoughts about the 3 Characteristics of a team player? Is there a quality that is a challenge for you too? I would love to hear your stories.



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