As we approach the holiday season here in America, various sports are being played simultaneously for our viewing pleasure.
Each night, we can watch our favorite teams and witness firsthand the essential qualities of great organizations and teammates.
Pat Lencioni, of TableGroup, has written extensively about successful teams. His first book, "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team," was a best-seller along with "The Ideal Team" Player, released in 2016.
Lencioni identifies three critical components that make a great teammate. Without these working together, a team will never bond and maximize its potential. On every level of the organization, these critical elements must be part of everyone's daily habits and behaviors.
- Humility. Being humble is the first and perhaps most important characteristic of a great team. C.S. Lewis once said: "Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it's thinking of yourself less." As a leader, we create humility in our teams when we practice being humble, never speaking in the first person, and always including ourselves as part of the problem.
- Hunger. Great teammates want to be coached and want to improve daily. They're never satisfied, always reaching for new challenges. They possess incredible work habits that strengthen over time. Hunger means working harder, working smarter and being able to focus.
- Smart. Lencioni points out this isn't an intellectual skill but rather an emotional one. Using common sense and understanding what is and isn't important to the overall goals of the team.
Lencioni points out that without all three working together, becoming a great teammate never occurs, and talented teams never truly become great.
When a person is proficient in humility and hunger but lacks smarts, Lencioni calls this person the "Accidental Mess Maker." When a person is humble and smart but lacks hunger, Lencioni calls him/her the "Lovable Slacker." When a person is smart and hungry but lacks humility, Lencioni labels them "The Skillful Politician."
Having been part of several teams, many of us can likely identify with each of Lencioni's labels.
It doesn't matter if you're a leader, teacher, student, parent or young adult; being great in these three areas will be the cornerstone of your success moving forward. Make these a part of your core and watch how others react and gravitate toward you, emulating your behavior.
If you're in charge of any team from Wall Street to Pop Warner Football, spend time teaching these core values and practice them daily.
Once you become a great teammate, a great team will follow.