Titles Talking About Teamwork

March 14, 2019 in
By Emily Winick, Kathleen Quinn

In keeping with this month’s theme of teamwork, one of our Consultants, Kathleen, and one of our Engagement Managers, Emily, teamed up to see what some experts say about any so-called “X-factors” that make team players the rockstars they are. Emily turned to Patrick Lencioni, best-selling author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, and read his more recent title, The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate the Three Essential Virtues. Kathleen’s book of choice was Back to Human: How Great Leaders Create Connection in the Age of Isolation authored by New York Times bestselling author, Dan Schawbel.

The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate the Three Essential Virtues

In this book, Lencioni distills the dynamics of teamwork down to the individual level: what makes someone an ideal team player? Hopefully, we all strive to be the best team players we can be, but what makes some of us better at it than others? According to Lencioni, the ideal team player has a trifecta of essential virtues: they are humble, hungry, and smart.

Humble. When it comes to showing humility in the workplace, it can be hard to strike the right balance between giving credit to others when it is due, doing your work without an expectation or need for attention or recognition, while also demonstrating your contribution and value as a team member. Lencioni describes humble team players as those who work with little ego. While these team members uphold accountability for their work, they also embrace sharing accolades with others or, in some cases, they accept that an accomplishment may go without expressed recognition.

Hungry. Even though FMP’s kitchen is always stocked to make sure our employees don’t go hungry (or get “hangry”!), we know the value of fueling employees’ metaphorical hunger for doing great work. According to Lencioni, ideal team players have an innate passion – or hunger – for their work, which leads them to adopt a ‘do whatever it takes’ mentality for the benefit of the team. It is this energy and enthusiasm that elevates the team’s commitment to its goals and helps team members become more resilient in the face of challenges.

Smart. The ideal team player is smart, and not just in terms of technical expertise (although, that can be highly important, of course). This virtue also encompasses emotional and interpersonal intelligence. Someone who is smart in the emotional and interpersonal sense is skilled at motivating others, handling sensitive topics, navigating difficult conversations, and working effectively with multiple personality types.

In his analysis, Lencioni takes readers through real-world scenarios that illuminate how to identify humility, hunger, and smarts, and how those virtues play out in team settings. By understanding the interplay of these virtues, organizational leaders can increase the effectiveness of their recruiting practices, improve retention by selecting employees who thrive in a team setting, and engage employees in more targeted development efforts. To learn more about Patrick Lencioni and his work, visit https://www.tablegroup.com/pat/.


Back to Human: How Great Leaders Create Connection in the Age of Isolation

In this work, Schawbel offers insights into avoiding isolation at work (given all the advanced technology available) and focusing on building genuine connections within teams. With more and more employees working remotely, meetings, let alone daily office interactions, are continuing to look and feel different each day. How do leaders keep their employees feeling connected? According to Schawbel, there are three stages of creating team connection: master self-connection, create team connection, and build organizational connection. Throughout the process of delving into these focus areas, Schawbel sheds light on how and when to use technology to help, and not hurt, the overall group dynamic.

Master Self-Connection. With laptops coming home with us at night, cell-phone numbers displayed on business cards, and text messages enabling constant communication, the line between work and life is becoming increasingly blurry. Studies show that the average office worker receives more than 100 emails a day! How does one manage checking their emails and then actually getting the work done requested in those messages? Schawbel suggests striving for work-life integration instead of attempting to find a balance between the two. Figure out what makes you fulfilled and flex your schedule around that- whether it’s getting to the gym in the morning and therefore staying in the office later in the evening or coming in on the early side in order to make it home for family dinner. A healthy, happy employee will be engaged and excited at work. At the end of the day a work team exists to generate results for the company, and individuals should support the ways in which team members increase personal productivity, leading to increase in company productivity.

Create Team Connection. How we collaborate and network within our teams has evolved and adapting requires new skills. What’s especially challenging in today’s office environment is the frequency with which employees are itching to hear appreciation, accolades, and all-around approval. Team members no longer want to wait a year for a review. They want much regular personal project status updates, “likes” regarding their recent work, and overall praise for their performance. With social media’s strong presence today, employees have grown accustomed to this frequent feedback and effective leaders should be considering rewarding through recognition.

Build Organizational Connection. As technology evolves, so are companies’ hiring strategies. In hopes of saving time and money, HR professionals are leveraging tools to measure potential matches via machines, predictive algorithms, bots, and artificial intelligence (AI). Schawbel centers on questions regarding how do these high-tech screening tools actually assess an essential interpersonal intangible such as likeability? Sure, more candidates can be evaluated (and in a shorter timeframe by offering phone interviews and skype options instead of working around in-person interviews that require coordination or travel), but in doing so employers are overlooking the importance of evaluating critical traits that cannot be identified other than in-person. Engaging in a handshake with a potential candidate, reading their body language, and evaluating how they converse in casual conversation to and from the meeting room, are all important indicators of whether or not they would be a “fit” with current colleagues and/or clients. When you make the right hiring decisions, you advance your team and your entire company.  

Both books offer unique perspectives that may help you and your organization create successful teams and you can grab one of your own here and here. If you’re looking for further support in teambuilding reach out to us at FMP at BD@fmpconsulting.com.