Book Review: The Ideal Team Player

Recommended by: Meredith Hoenes, Communications Specialist, Boone Electric Cooperative

I was given this book to read as part of my department’s annual evaluation. My supervisor was looking for something “different,” something with more depth or character than the basic one sheet we use. It was an easy read. The author, Patrick Lencioni, writes what he dubs a leadership fable about certain characteristics each employee, no matter their level, should possess if working on the team. The team is the business, the company, the department, no matter how big or small. The fable is written from an incoming CEOs point-of-view as he tries to figure out how this great company has worked so well, so far.

The fable has the CEO spending time with nearly everyone in this small construction company. He’s learning what goes well, who works well, why things went wrong, even why the company is losing good employees. It also weaves in his attempt to look at hiring another exec who compliments the two he already has; knowing the company has taken on two big projects for that year.

This entire process helps him unearth a list of virtues which make up a good employee and more importantly, a great team player. He develops the idea the employees who are humble, hungry and smart create the best work environment. Humble are those who compliment the team and share credit, admit when they make mistakes and can identify their weaknesses. Hungry is when a team member is willing to do more than required of the job, has passion and is eager to take on even tedious tasks. Smart isn’t about IQ, street smarts or job experience. Smarts focuses on one’s interactions with their co-workers as more than a fellow employee. Smarts is being aware of how one’s wording, attitude and empathy, or lack of, relays to their teammates.

Very few of us will find we are strong in all three. The book encourages self-assessment, but also peer assessment. Whether doing this book along with co-workers, a supervisor or on your own, it does help you identify strengths and weaknesses. While humble, hungry and smart are used to narrow down our own human behaviors and put them in categories, I found the fable told puts this idea into the real world. As a reader, you will connect with the characters’ personalities and the problems they cause among fellow employees. Almost all were familiar scenarios I had experienced at one time or another.

I recommend this book for everyone. Whether unemployed and job hunting, a CEO trying to fix problems or an HR officer vetting future job candidates. It’s a quick assessment of one’s basic tendencies put on display daily in a work setting. It’s a gut check if you will.

Reading a great business/leadership book that you’d like to share with the network? Email Justina Dial, Marketing & Communications Co-chair with the book information and a short review.

The sharing of member reviews does not constitute an endorsement by Women’s Network or the Columbia Chamber of Commerce.

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