Over years of leading, these (5) qualities stand out as the game changers for successful team members in culture, relationship and performance:

  1. Hunger – whether born out of vision, discipline or an abundance mentality, people who have an appetite and belief that “more and bettering is possible” are far easier and more enjoyable to lead. With team members that are hungry, we get to build and create versus focusing our efforts on getting them to show up and bring their best.

  2. Humble – we’re not talking about martyrdom here but rather that they’re keenly aware of their strengths and weaknesses.  Quite frankly, even the awareness that there are strong and weak areas within them and everyone else is a far better starting point than high levels of insecurity, arrogance, or insecurity that’s masquerading as arrogance.  With humble team members, we get to leverage strengths and either develop or build around weaknesses, as opposed to convincing them of their strengths or highlighting their weaknesses.  

  3. Love to Learn – these team members read, listen to content, have coaches/mentors and are constantly looking for ways to practice what they’re learning.  Personal experience is far too slow of a teacher when we have access to so many other’s experiences and wisdom.  Team members who are constantly learning and growing will get better, faster and are way more enjoyable to lead.  

  4. Team Players – these people are after “we” before “me.”  They understand that the company or organization’s health and success is what paves the way for individuals to succeed.  Successful team members love to see everyone win and believe that there’s enough success, money and attention to go around.  Those who are interested in themselves, have a far greater tendency to manipulate and use politics to diminish and blame others and find ways to highlight themselves as the hero.  

  5. Strong Leader and Better Follower – these team members: 
    • catch, sharpen and own the vision and strategy
    • live into it with their actions
    • invite others into writing the story

Having strong leaders or great followers is a starting point and yet having those who are able to do both is a game changer for teams.

Alright, so here’s the deal: 

What if I have a team member with all 5?

In this case, it mission critical to encourage, challenge, build in and invite them into more — challenge, learning, influence and ownership.  

Ok what about 4?

Developing hunger in team players will be the most difficult and yet it can be done.  If they carry humility, love to learn and are a good follower, dive on in and begin the conversation around what hunger or being a team player would look like and do both for them and the team.  

What about 2-3?

successful team members qualities

If someone is a team member who is hungry and/or humble, we start to move to a place where someone’s best chance for success in a healthy and successful team is as a technician.  If someone doesn’t carry these qualities it will require significant development and growth in maturity over time to pave the way to develop into a strong and healthy manager or leader.    

Ok – so here’s the kicker.  As you read this list, there’s someone who jumps to mind and you’re struggling to see if they carry any of the 5.  While some of this probably lacks pure objectivity and is somewhat due to built up frustration, it’s likely the kindest thing for you, the team and person – for them to work somewhere else.  Not every person fits into every organization and there are places where certain qualities aren’t as important.  That being said, if someone doesn’t carry 4 or 5 qualities that are really important to you as a leader, it’s likely not going to be a good fit or fun for anyone  .  

And for the person who comes to mind as the center of the bullseye for all or most of the above, “champion” these successful team members early and often to let them know and the organization know that these qualities are deeply valued and respected!

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