Patrick Lencioni (obviously) wrote The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.
In that book we learn that the five dysfunctions you need to avoid are …
- Absence of trust — unwilling to be vulnerable within the group
- Fear of conflict — seeking artificial harmony over constructive passionate debate
- Lack of commitment — feigning buy-in for group decisions creates ambiguity throughout the organisation
- Avoidance of accountability — ducking the responsibility to call peers, superiors on counterproductive behaviour which sets low standards
- Inattention to team results — focusing on personal success, status and ego before team success
I always try to frame these in positive/actionable terms by asking people to help me to build teams that show/exhibit the following characteristics …
- We trust (and respect) each other
- We aim for Productive Friction with a lot of Radical Cantor
- We have a Decision Making Process/Culture that allows people to get to a point where they can (in the worst case) disagree-and-commit
- Culture = Values + Believes + Behaviours. Culture is defined by the worst behaviour (that violates your values and believes) that you are accepting/tolerating, without calling it out
- We know our First Team and are Ideal Team Players
Which creates the question: What is an
Ideal Team Player?
Funny that you ask. Luckily Patrick wrote a book about that too.
In that book he suggests that the Ideal Team Player is …
… and describes the people that have only 2 of the 3 traits as …
- Humble & Smart - The lovable slackers
- Hungry & Smart - The skilful politician
- Humble & Hungry - The accidental mess-maker
This can create a lot of good discussions …
- Do you think that you are humble, hungry and smart?
- That’s a trick question, because if you say yes you are not humble and it’s not smart not to see that this is a trick question :) …
- If you need to pick one of the 3 traits as your weakest, what would it be?
- What can/will you do (e.g. as a skilful politician) to make sure
that your weak-/blind-spot will not affect the success of the team in
a negative way?
- Note: I rarely ask people to change who/what they are. I am more interested to create awareness for the negative impact the weak-/blind-spot can have on the team performance/dynamic and look to create accountability to own that weak-/blind-spot and mitigate that negative impact
And for me personally you can take this one step further: I like the directions/dimensions Patrick is exploring, but the traits do not resonate with me to the extend they should/need to.
For instance (in my head)
Smart can also mean
Clever and that is
not what I am looking for in an Ideal Team Player. Instead what I am
looking for is
Competence, where Competence is the sum of the
Intelligence of that person.
Therefore for me personally the 3 traits of an Ideal Team Player are …
- Decency - You are a good human being. A
mensch. Not an ass-hole. No need to be humble (as long as you are not hurting other people with your non-humbleness and as long as your non-humbleness is (just) an expression of the pride and passion you feel for the things you do)
- Ambition - I am all for leading with why and leading with
purpose to inspire people to deliver on shared objectives. But
… at the end Ideal Team Players are
driven. They have a flame, a desire, a passion burning in them (to care for someone or something) that they can direct towards delivering on the shared objectives. For them good is not good enough. They are bar-raisers. For me this is also better than Hungry, because hunger is a feeling that comes and goes (e.g. after you have eaten (got promoted) you might not feel hungry for a while), where ambition is much more a state of mind that is always/constantly there as a source of energy
- Competence - Equals … Experience + Expertise + Intelligence (see above)
In that sense I try to become a better Ideal Team Player every day.
The journey continues …