Are You a Good Team Player?

We are involved in teams at work, in the community, in our churches and in many different facets of our lives. Having a great team is critical to success in any of these forums. Some of the characteristics of the best teams include the following:

  • They are made up of team players working towards a common goal.
  • They have a good leader.
  • Team members trust one another and feel safe as part of the team.
  • Team members are willing to engage in healthy conflict.
  • Roles and responsibilities are clear.
  • Team members show they appreciate one another.

Let’s delve into what it means to be a good team player. Team players pitch in to help others on the team. They are focused on helping the team achieve its goals instead of just achieving their own. In the book, The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni, the ideal team player is humble, hungry and smart. To further support this notion, Dwayne Johnson says, “Be humble, be hungry and always be the hardest worker in the room.” Never really thought I’d be quoting the Rock – but he certainly has been successful.

Traits of the Ideal Team Player


Humility is sometimes associated with weakness or meekness, but that isn’t the case at all! C.S. Lewis says, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less.” Patrick Lencioni says this is the most important of the three traits of an ideal team player. It involves a lack of excessive ego or concerns about status. Humble people put others before themselves.

Below are some behaviors that demonstrate a humble mindset:

  • Minimizing status differences.
  • Being slow to see attention for yourself and quick to point out the contributions of others.
  • Putting others before yourself.
  • Being willing to be vulnerable.
  • Listening to others and seeking their input.


People who are hungry are always looking for more to do, to learn and new things to take on. They don’t have to be pushed by a manager to work harder because they are self-motivated and diligent. They are dependable and reliable as it relates to showing up at work and doing what they say they will do. Being hungry essentially means that they display a good work ethic.


This definition is a little different than you might think. Lencioni defines it as having common sense about people. You may have heard the term “emotional intelligence” which I prefer to call “people smarts.” People who are smart ask good questions, listen well and engage effectively with others. Patrick says this one is the most coachable of the three traits – and, if the person is humble, they will be coachable.

Are You a Good Team Player?

How would others rate you on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest) in these categories? If you have opportunities, it’s a perfect time to start working on them.



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