The 3 characteristics of the ideal team player (Patrick Lencioni, 2016)


Patrick Lencioni, author of "the 5 frustrations of teamwork", explores the characteristics of team players in his latest book. What makes a team member help promote team performance meaningfully? The characteristics (also called "virtues" by Lencioni) look surprisingly simple and practical: modesty, drive and cleverness (social intelligence). 

Modesty means that the team is more important than the individual. The team goal is put first. The ego is not too big, status is not the most important thing. Immodesty leads to arrogance and harms the team. Being too modest leads to insecurity and not using essentially existing competences. 

Drive, passion, implies a striving for "more", more knowledge, more responsibility, more action. Driven people are self-motivated and committed. When drive is self-focused and no longer about the team, it can become destructive to the team result. 

Smartness refers to the way a person knows how to interact with people. Socially adept people manage to approach others correctly, ask the right questions, listen, pay attention and stay engaged. Smart people do not necessarily have good intentions, they can also use their talents for their own agenda. 

What makes someone an effective team player is the combination of these three characteristics or virtues. Lencioni further provides practical tools for the manager to identify the characteristics when applying for jobs, when assessing and developing employees, integrating these virtues into the corporate culture. 

Comment: with this model, Lencioni adds meaningfully to his team model from the point of view of the team player himself. The book reads smoothly (Lencioni again uses a story/case study here, as in his previous books). The features are clear, attractively tangible and compelling. The book can inspire any team leader. It already does with us.


The team process is guided by a pragmatic roadmap based on the theory of Patrick Lencioni. In his model, he describes five foundations that are necessary for a successful team: trust, open dialogue, commitment, accountability and co-ownership. we create a secure framework and ensure that all team members are willing to talk.
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