The Seven Qualities of Perfect Teammates
Those who aren’t irritating aren’t fully known.
Everyone is irritating. They either do things that bug you, or, they leave something undone, and that bugs you.
What does a perfect teammate look like?
- Give more than they take. Bloodsuckers are burdens.
- Acknowledge your smartness and ask what you think. Perfect teammates consider your thoughts before quickly dismissing them. It feels good to be asked even if you don’t know.
- Smile at you. My wife has a perfect smile. We joke that I only need one thing from her, a smile. I look at her and wait. In takes a moment, then she smiles. Life is better. A smile is admiration.
- Want you to have more success than you currently enjoy. They aren’t threatened when you get ahead.
- Enjoy your point of view and have their own.
- Say, “I like it when you _______,” frequently. (A note to my sarcastic friends. You’re supposed to fill in the blank.)
- Share things that make you better, not just theories or complaints. “You should focus on the future more,” doesn’t help.
Bonus: Perfect teammates aren’t irritating.
Perfect teammates generously focus on you more than themselves.
The seven marks of perfect teammates are awesome when you’re on the receiving side. But, they feel different when you are on the giving side.
Go BE a perfect teammate.
Challenge and confession:
Choose one of the seven marks of a perfect teammate and do it for your team today.
I thought it would be fun to describe what I wanted in a perfect teammate. But, it felt different when I started applying the list to myself.
Maybe my teammates aren’t as irritating as I thought.
What is your perfect teammate like?
How are you being a “perfect” teammate?
Like most everything you write, I loved this bit, Dan.
Here’s a visual I made with similar themes last year:
Hope you dig it,
Thanks Bill. I appreciate the good word and the image of dark cloud / silver lining.
That is a good one. Nicely done, Bill. Maybe you ought to be illustrating for Dan!
They DO what they SAY they will do.
It seems like that quality / value can be missing in so many teammates. This may not be a dishonest thing, but just a habit of over-promising or simply forgetting.
That old NLP anchor, “We judge ourselves by our intentions; we judge others by their behavior.” certainly comes into play. But, for me at least, doing what you say you will do is a pretty important factor in teamwork.
Thanks Dr. Scott. The desire to be helpful coupled with a distaste for saying no are two reasons I over-commit. It’s a case of good intentions going too far.
Great! How about, “Include you in their vision”.
Thanks Kathleen. Yes. We need to see ourselves in the future. Leaders help others fit in.
I think that a perfect teammate has real skin in the game. Even if their viewpoint “clashes” with other teammates, the values and purpose of the team need to be meaningful and important to each team member. People just along for the ride drag the team down, in my experience, and can’t be counted on in the pinch.
Thanks Steven. Powerful and true! I want to feel that you are as committed as I am. Dealing with varying levels of commitment is an interesting leadership challenge.
I’ve always anchored my “change management stuff” to the simple concept that, “Nopobody ever washes a rental car.” Ownership involvement is one of the critical components for generating commitment to making something happen.
Another one is that “Trust is the residue of promises fulfilled.” (Frank Navran). I’ve illustrated some LEGO cartoons around that concept. You want people that you can count on when your team HAS to get something done and when that rubber (or skin) hits the road. Hopefully, the former rather than the latter and it might help to wear your biker leather when working with some people on some teams.
They have your back and when there’s trouble with a team member, they help out. Thanks for writing this post Dan!
Thanks Diana. In order to move forward with haste, we must have each other’s backs.
Another thought-provoking, action-inviting post, Dan. Thanks so much. As one in the middle, both a leader of a team but also part of a larger organization, I’d welcome your thoughts on how to work positively when your organizational leader does none (or virtually none) of the actions you suggest. How does a team member encourage these behaviors among team leaders, other than consistently do them himself or herself? If you’ve written on this previously, I’d welcome a reminder link. Thanks.)
Thanks Scott. Your concern is often mentioned to me. Sadly, we can’t control others, especially when they have more power or higher position.
The first thing that comes to mind is building a strong relationship with people who have position or power. One where they feel you are on their team. In order to influence people in power they must believe we are committed to their success.
Second, approach them with a profound concern about what’s best for the organization.
Third, bring clear examples of how they may be shooting themselves in their own foot. People who are concerned about success often enjoy learning how to have even more.
Having said that, I see no speedy, easy answer to your question.
Attempting to influence those over you without first building a strong relationship with them is difficult, even dangerous.
Keep up the great work. Cheers
Frank, but gentle .. with some ability to sense my “vibe.” 🙂
Yes, thank you.. I’ll take a car load of them 🙂
Thanks Ken. The tension between tough and tender is persistent. Navigating it take real wisdom.
Great, Dan. Love it.
Thought of one more:
Offer to serve and help you…not just ask for help from you. Great team members serve each other (as well as ask for help when needed).
Thanks Will. “Serve each other” … that’s it. I suppose we should add, without keep track.
Interesting concept today Dan!
There aren’t perfect people, just ‘perfect for me’. : )
I’d say that my favorite kind of team mates are the kind that no me well enough to respect me but also know me well enough not to be intimidated or threatened by me. (my opinions, experiences, views…or when something in the world gets my attention and raises my ire, etc )
The right teammates accept me for who I am while also being able to push back when needed. They aren’t overly co-dependent nor are they extremely independent…they fall nicely into being interdependent.
They aren’t afraid to speak the truth in love. They highly value honesty and would be MORE offended if I didn’t tell the truth then if I speak the truth even if it’s clumsy.
I’m sure there’s more…those are the biggy’s off the top of head and heart.
Thanks Samantha. I’m sure there are more but everyone I add I increase what I expect from myself.
I really like the idea of someone who we don’t have to pull punches with.
Very useful list Dan. And I love the picture of the sign, “To me, you’re perfect.” The meaning I get from that is “While you’re not technically perfect, when I look at the whole package and keep things in perspective, you end up being spectacular!” That’s a very powerful message we can give to others.
Thanks Alan. I love your positive approach! When I grow up, I want to be just like you.
Great reveal at the end. As you’d say, Kapow! Go and BE the perfect team member. Reminds me of Jesus’ question who was neighbor to the injured man? Go and do likewise.
Thanks Peter. Glad it worked for you. I hadn’t planned a post with a twist. But, the more I thought about the theme of the post, the more I felt it was hypocritical to focus on others and not myself.
My perfect teammate is confident and faith in me. He has full dedication in the teamwork. He believes in the effort of others. There is no scope for expectation in teamwork. It means teammate does not expect from others to put effort.It is understood and realized that everyone is putting his or her best effort. The moment expectation comes, it provides space to doubt others potential.
Synergy among team members is well discussed and accepted concept. Synergy glues members and integrate effort to achieve goal. In the team, it is willingness to achieve goal that matters than just putting effort. Willingness magnify efforts to many-fold. And this helps to achieve even almost impossible goals.
Thanks Dr. Gupta. We don’t expect people to give their best, it’s a given. What a powerful idea. You got me thinking.
This was great!
Great Teammates are….
• They put the team and EVERYONE on the team before themselves.
• They don’t spell team with an “I” and they make “We” statements rather than “I” statements.
My perfect team-mate is one who don’t judge me for who I am. Accepts me for my imperfections unconditionally, and see all the good qualities in me. Am a good team-mate when I do the same. Always see the goodness in others and always encouraging and motivating. We are who we are ,and accepts each other silliness!
I really liked Dr. Gupta’s inputs – that would be an ideal team. No need to monitor, just have faith that everyone is putting in their 100 percent or more. But that seems more exception than rule. Or maybe I’m wrong?
Dear Dan, Thank you so much, what a rich discussion. You are a great role model to me. My thoughts: I like the idea of trying to be the “perfect” team member myself. This implies that we know well what the team needs and what other team members need. This enables us to “treat them as they want to be treated” – perhaps this is totally different from how we want to be treated ourselves.
As a great team mate I want to give others the feeling that they can be “themselves” and don’t need to wear a “mask” in order to be accepted. I want to be genuine/authentic myself, without losing control and pestering others with bad temper. The more I think about it: It develops into a “8 or so commandments for team members”… :-).
Another thought: I learned from my clients, that many don’t know exactly, what it actually means to be a good team mate. One small business owner with a new team recently told me: “I’ve never experienced a great team in my business life. I always was “staff”.
We live in a world of specialists and “lone fighters”. Perhaps we need to “relearn” team work. If we don’t know anything about the power/success of a great team, we don’t know what to look for or what to do to get it.
1. They want the ‘win’ as you do.
2. Teachable. They regularly ask how they can improve.
I enjoyed this post, Dan. A healthy team environment absolutely requires these discussions to be out in the open constantly. What’s talked about a lot is remembered and gains focus.