The book is a pleasure to listen as other management fables by Patrick M. Lencioni. In a very entertaining form the author presents easy to remember traits of an ideal team player, and a guide on how these traits can be evaluated during the interview process.
The concept of “an ideal team player” is quite simple and immediately useful.
The first and most important virtue of an ideal team player is humility. A humble employee is someone who is more concerned with the success of the team than with getting credit for his or her contributions. People who lack humility in a significant way, the ones who demand a disproportionate amount of attention, are dangerous for a team. Having said that, humble team players are not afraid to honestly acknowledge the skills and talents that they bring to the team, though never in a proud or boastful way.
The next virtue of an ideal team player is hunger, the desire to work hard and do whatever is necessary to help the team succeed. Hungry employees almost never have to be pushed by a manager to work harder because they are self-motivated and diligent. They volunteer to fill gaps, take on more responsibilities and are eagerly looking around corners for new ways to contribute to the team.
The final virtue of a team player is not about being intelligent, but rather about being wise in how to deal with people. Smart employees understand the nuances of team dynamics, and know how their words and actions impact others. Their good judgment and intuition help them deal with others in the most effective way.
An interview guide suggests questions to ask during the interview process and possible interpretations of the answers.
The interesting point (from my perspective) is the “hungry” component. As a humble person with good interpersonal skills won’t create a team discord, this type of an individual is not quite contributing to the team’s success. The author calls an extreme example of this type a “lovable slacker,” who is a pleasure to be around, but who is not doing enough to help the team to achieve its goal. Even if “hungry” might seem to belong to a different area of employee’s performance, it does affect the team.