3 Qualities That Help You Spot A Team Player


The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni: ( Review )

A closer look at  an “Ideal Team Player”

Ideal team players are individuals who add immediate value in a team environment and require much less coaching and management to contribute in a meaningful way.  Knowing how to ‘spot’ ideal team players is a necessary skill to build successful organizations.

The question is:

How does the ideal team player look like?

How can you find them?

The ideal team players have 3 qualities or virtues in common:  they are HUMBLE, HUNGRY and SMART.


The first and most important virtue of an ideal team player is humility.  A humble employee is someone who is more concerned with the success of the team than with getting credit for his or her contributions. People who lack humility in a significant way, the ones who demand a disproportionate amount of attention, are dangerous for a team. Having said that, humble team players are not afraid to honestly acknowledge the skills and talents that they bring to the team, though never in a proud or boastful way.


The next virtue of an ideal team player is hunger, the desire to work hard and do whatever is necessary to help the team succeed. Hungry employees almost never have to be pushed by a manager to work harder because they are self-motivated and diligent. They volunteer to fill gaps, take on more responsibilities and are eagerly looking around corners for new ways to contribute to the team.


The final virtue of a team player is not about being intelligent, but rather about being wise in how to deal with people. Smart employees understand the nuances of team dynamics, and know how their words and actions impact others. Their good judgment and intuition help them deal with others in the most effective way.


As simple as these three concepts may be, the key to all this is the unique combination of all three virtues, which make a person an ideal team player.  Unfortunately, when even one of these attributes is lacking in a significant way, challenges can arise.  

For instance, a humble and hungry employee who is not smart about people may accomplish a great deal but will often leave a trail of interpersonal destruction behind them.  And a person who is smart and humble but lacking in hunger will frustrate team members by doing only what is required and having to be constantly asked to do more.  Finally, a team member who is hungry and smart but truly lacking in humility, can have a devastating impact on a team. This type knows how to present himself or herself as a well-intentioned colleague, all the while looking out for his or her own needs. By the time team members figure this out, people have been manipulated and scarred.

How do you go about hiring ideal team players? It’s mostly about knowing what to look for, and probing in non-traditional ways. And what about employees who already work on the team and lack one or more of the virtues?  A big part of helping them improve is making sure they understand the concepts and know where they fall short.  We’ve found that merely introducing this simple model to teams and allowing them to self-assess goes a long way toward improvement.

The Source for Organizational Health www.tablegroup.com. 2016 The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni