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Being 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. According to 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. People who are humble put others before themselves.

In the book Good to Great, researchers studied nearly 1,500 high-performing Fortune 500 companies over a 30-year period. Humility was one of the distinct characteristics found in the successful leaders of these companies.

Below are some behaviors that demonstrate a humble mindset:

  • Minimize status differences

  • Be slow to see attention for yourself and quick to point out the contributions of others

  • Put others before yourself

  • Be willing to be vulnerable

  • Listen to others and seek 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. Patrick 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!

This is Behavior #2 of my How to Be a Purple Squirrel employee development program. If you are interested in learning more, please reach out to me at

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