In his book, The Ideal Team Player, Patrick Lencioni defines a team player as someone who has the ability to work effectively with others and is able to add value within the dynamics of a group. I have found that when you have people on a team with the goal of helping others win, you see high performing, thriving teams emerge.
Before you can address the team your organization needs to thrive, you must first look at the culture of your organization. A winning culture can be defined by answering the question, “What does it take for people who work here to win?” This moves the focus from surviving to thriving. Describe the skills and qualities needed for a new team member to be successful. This provides a framework for having the right people doing the right things within your organization.
Teams are built by team players. And thriving teams are built by thriving team players. There are three important questions to consider for each individual team member in helping build a team that thrives:
1. What are their strengths?
What comes naturally to them? Why are strengths are important? Employees who use their strengths daily are 6 times more engaged than those who don’t and research shows a direct correlation between how engagement with work and things like customer satisfaction, profitability, productivity, turnover, absenteeism, and quality. Knowing team member strengths and using those strengths is important to their overall level of satisfaction.
2. What do they bring to the table?
In terms of the characteristics listed above, identify what each team player collectively or uniquely brings to the team.
3. Where do they need to improve?
Again, in comparing with the ideal team member success characteristics, identify the areas individual team members need to improve. Follow-up by providing opportunities for professional development. Reward initiative and call out successful completions of training. Look for wins and celebrate them.
There are three areas that lead to fulfilling work and a high level of job satisfaction that characterize teams that thrive: being known, relevant work, and a way to measure success. Being known is knowing that someone is interested in you as a human being and that he or she knows about your life, your aspirations, and your interests. Relevant work is seeing that your job makes a difference in the lives of others. Everyone needs to know that the work they do impacts someone else’s life positively – a customer, a co-worker, a supervisor, or manager. Have a way of measuring contributions and successes is vital to maintaining morale and work engagement for a thriving environment.
Thriving teams are made from thriving team players. Give team members the opportunity to communicate needs. Do they feel known? Do they know how their work makes a difference? Do they have a way of measuring their contribution? Then watch the team thrive.