The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni is a business management book that discusses the importance of teams in an organization, and the attributes that characterize perfect team players. The author outlines various case scenarios where team building was crucial, and the approaches employed in the respective situations. The case scenarios are essential for identifying the tangents of interaction between teams, individuals, and organizational success. Under the topic “The Fable,” the author creates fictional stories to enhance the reader’s understanding and allow for a direct connection between theory and practice.
The next section of the book is called “The Model,” where the author conducts a professional analysis. The book identifies three essential characteristics of a perfect team player and provides a clear and concise definition of the traits they should possess. The book offers a brief history of the team player’s model and its provisions. Furthermore, it considers the practical application of the ideal and how it connects to teams’ challenges. Finally, the author closes with a personal reflection of the team player approach and how the author has applied it in real life.
The book’s core consideration is that teams require more than just talents from individuals to function in harmony. The three attributes of a perfect team player, humility, hunger, and people-smart skills, essentially underscore the pre-requisites of working in teams. The author defines humility as an individual’s capacity to give the team importance beyond oneself (Lencioni 157). Teamwork requires the effort of all the members to succeed. However, there is often the possibility of conflict between personal ambitions and those of the team. Humility makes it necessary for the members to sacrifice their individual goals and pursue the group’s purposes.
Hunger is used in this context to explain the constant need for people in a team to learn from one another. According to Lencioni, hunger is what drives workers to perform beyond expectations because they are always looking for development opportunities (157). Hunger prevents redundancy, while at the same time encouraging progressive individual and group development. There are instances in which teams become static due to the status quo mentality when employees become excessively comfortable with their present situations. Hunger promotes team innovation and ensures that workers are always on the lookout for personal and team development opportunities.
Finally, the author mentions people’s smart skills as the third attribute of a perfect team player. A people-smart person is emotionally intelligent and manages to understand employees and maximize their output (Lencioni 157). The primary resource in a team is the worker, who, together with other group members, strives to ensure that the objectives and goals are met effectively. However, there must be an in-depth understanding of one another at a personal level to optimize individual talents. Communication skills promote harmony and minimize conflicts by focussing on effective conflict resolution strategies.
The book’s organization and content make it a perfect resource for managers interested in improving the productivity of teams within an organization. The case scenarios are ideal for beginners because they allow the reader to connect the theory and practice in the following sections. The tone and structure of the book have been simplified, making it easy to read and understand. Instead of using a professional style excessively with complicated jargon, the author has opted for a direct approach. The author also provides a personal reflection at the end of the book, indicating his level of belief concerning the model.
However, there is a general feeling that the author places more than a necessary emphasis on fictional stories. Although they are relevant in explaining various aspects of teams from a practical perspective, they occupy a lot of space that could have been used for crucial team concepts. The stories might be a distraction to a manager, especially when they are interested in understanding the complex aspects associated with teams. Perhaps it would have been more practical for the author to invest less time in the stories and explain team concepts.
Practical application is only made possible when one manages to connect between theory and practice. The author does a commendable job of enhancing the application by using various examples in the book. One of the core lessons learned from the book is that when working with teams, individual talents are not prioritized. When organizations are hiring staff, they mostly concentrate on personal competencies while ignoring the recruits’ capacity to work in teams. In the future, when I take a management position, I would place more emphasis on team player skills and ensure that employees understand the importance of teamwork.
The concepts in the book are not limited to the workplace. Even in our social lives, we often encounter situations that require us to work in teams rather than individually. I would apply the core characteristics of a perfect team player in such cases. For instance, I would nurture skills such as emotional intelligence that enhance my skills of communication. I would also seek constant improvement in hunger and humility to ensure that I am a perfect example to people around me.
Lencioni, Patrick M. The Ideal Team Player. John Wiley & Sons, 2016.