Patrick Lencioni, also the author of '5 Dysfunctions of a Team', believes he knows. Whilst he uses a fictitious case study of a business to highlight the 3 key traits of the ideal team player, he applies his theory in a variety of situations which can be as applicable for myself, as a member of the American International School of Bucharest community, as it could be to helping students understand how to cooperate together effectively.
The ability to work together as part of a team is a necessary skill, which can be applied to almost all aspects of our daily lives. Lencioni highlights three character traits that form the ideal team player; Humility, Hunger & Smarts. Whilst this may seem three obvious and straight forward traits, as we look at how they interact they can become more complex. Lencioni is ready to highlight that ideal, does not mean perfect. Everyone has the ability to improve in one or more trait.
Lencioni believes that humility is 'the single, greatest and most indispensable attribute of being a team player. Humble members of the team emphasize the team over themselves, share credit of any successes and define success collectively instead of focusing upon their contribution. They lack excessive ego, or concerns about how others perceive them.
"Humility isn't thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less" C.S. Lewis
Hungry members of a team are self motivated, conscientious and will look to take on more responsibility within the team, but in a humble manner.
Lencioni describes this as being 'people smart', to demonstrate good inter personal skills, including listening, asking questions and engaging within the group dynamics with an understanding of how words and actions can impact upon others.
The book is clearly aimed at adults, and it gives practical advice on how to work with people who want to develop in one or more of these areas. Individually these three traits are obvious and Lencioni agrees, however he believes with just the absence of one it can make teamwork significantly more difficult. A focus for the AISB PE department is working on sportsmanship displayed by our students, and throughout the book I was thinking how this could be applied to benefit our students.
PE provides various opportunities to specifically look, try and reflect upon teamwork with our students and this is the main focus of our Adventure Challenge unit. In October we will be starting this unit with our Grade 3 students, and I plan to use these three traits as a central theme of the unit and the basis of students self and peer reflection. I will post an update of how this looks when the unit is underway.
Do you agree with the emphasis placed upon these traits? Would you add or take away any? How would you use this to help develop teamwork skills among your students?