In the world of sports, we hear much ado about individual accomplishments, great coaches, and teams who earn accolades, but no team and no one person can be successful if all the individuals on the team are not great team players.
Being a great team player is not the same as having athletic skills. It is about having certain qualities as a person and conducting yourself in a way that is good for the team. And who would know this better than a great coach? Rudy Tomjanovich, former NBA All Star and Hall of Fame coach, says that “when it comes to what makes a good team player, the number one factor is that team comes first.”
In business, the same concept applies. While we all want to succeed individually, the greatest successes are never accomplished alone. Great teams make great companies, and a great team is made up of individuals who know how to work within a team and put the team first.
Let’s define the qualities that make a great team player.
- Great team players do their job. It sounds simple, but in order to be effective a team member must perform their role. On a basketball team, the center can’t take over the role of a guard. In business, everyone has a specific job to do, and must take full responsibility for their own role and not let the team down. They must hold themselves accountable, and never play the blame game.
- Desire to Grow. Rudy Tomjanovich says that “a great team player wants to be a complete player.” In business, great team players want to excel in all facets of their job and can take constructive criticism and use it to grow and get closer to being the best they can be.
- Being a helper. A great team player wants to help his teammates to be the best they can be so that the team can reach its full potential. They also want to help others when they’re down and be there to pull them back up.
- All players on the team must have respect for one another as people, and for their individual abilities.
- Open-mindedness. Great team players listen to the ideas of others and are willing to try new things and think outside of their own box. The best ideas come from open discussion and collaboration both in sports, and in business. The most effective teams have members who actively seek the ideas of others to work together to make decisions and solve problems.
- As we all know, in business you have to expect the unexpected. Team players need to be able to adapt to situations at a moment’s notice. In basketball, if one player gets injured, the team has to be flexible and adapt their roles to fit into a new strategy. In business, if a problem arises and plans need to change, the team needs to roll with the punches and move forward.
- Celebration of the wins of others. When one person wins, the team wins. There is no room for envy on a team. When any team member does well, it’s a team celebration.
- There can be no negativity on a team, and the focus must be on a positive future. Great team members approach their work with a strategic, forward focused mind and anticipate what they can do to add value.
- Effective communication within a team is essential. There are no secrets, and information must be transparent and clear. When team members share information so that everyone is on the same page, projects are much more likely to be successful.
- Being the solution. If there is a problem, team members want to solve it, not compound it with blame. They have the attitude that there are no problems, only solutions, and work to make that solution happen for the good of the team.
The bottom line is that great teams, both in sports or in business, are made of great players and great team players, and it’s important to make the distinction.
C-Suite IMPACT is a Great Team Player
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