The Ideal Team Player

By Barb McAllister, M.S., MCC

Patrick Lencioni’s book “The Ideal Team Player,” presents an approach very useful for both team coaching and hiring.  I really like this book, in part because of the experiences I’ve had managing teams in a large organization, and also because of my current coaching work with senior managers and their leadership teams.

When I managed in government, when I noticed that a team was stalling, it inevitably pointed back to one or more members of the team.  Sometimes there was a team member who had a big ego and was a know-it-all; or someone who was lazy and unwilling to pull their weight; or that person who was always creating drama and conflict with others.   So, I became a huge advocate of taking the time up to ensure that the right people were selected for my teams.  In my current coaching practice, I also encourage my clients to spend the time up front to make sure they have the right person in the right seat.

So the big question is:  who are the right people for the team? 

            In his book, Lencioni says that the ideal team player is “humble, hungry and smart.”  

Humble means placing the team’s interests over individual ones.  

Hungry means being self-motivated, hardworking and resilient.  

Smart means emotionally smart:  self-aware and savvy about other people.

Lencioni suggests that in hiring or selecting someone for a team, you look for specific behaviors and attitudes in the candidate which show that they are likely to be a good fit for a team because they are some combination of humble, hungry and smart.  If you want to know more about this, I recommend you read, “The Ideal Team Player.”   It is refreshing, helpful, an easy read, and an excellent resource for someone leading or participating on a team.



Barb works with teams as well as individuals.  To speak with her more about how these are linked and how you might better leverage the individuals on your team, contact her for a consult.