Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Ideal Team Player ... building covenant relationships

By Dale Shumaker

The Ideal Team Player by Patrick M. Lencioni elaborates on the three virtues a person must have to be an ideal team player. All of the three qualities he defines are necessary. If even one is missing, the person will be less effective as a person as part of a team and the team will suffer as a whole. Lencioni, author of the bestseller Five Dysfunctions of a Team, creates a story around the experiences of a team, and how the personalities interacted... the problems, dilemma, drama, resolve, solutions they encountered as a team. The three virtues of an ideal team player are to be humble, have hunger, be smart. He defines each.

Great team players lack excessive ego or concerns for status. They are quick to point out the contributions of others and slow to seek attention of their own. They share success collectively rather than individually. It is the greatest most indispensable attribute of being a team player.

Hungry people always look for more. More things to do, more to learn. They work harder on their own without being pushed by a manager, are self-motivated and diligent... always thinking about the next step.

It is not about intellectual capacity, but a person's common sense about people. They know what is happening in a group and how to deal with it. They ask questions, listen to what others are saying and stay engaged in a conversation intently.

The three virtues require the combination and combined integration of each other.

The person who is not humble will not be able to be vulnerable, build trust, and will be unable to engage in honest conflict and hold others accountable. They will have a difficult time committing to a decision that doesn't serve their own interest. A person who lacks hunger will be uncomfortable in conflict, not be accountable to peers, and not do what it takes to achieve results. They will take an easier path. A person not smart about people will create unnecessary problems in the team building process, especially when it takes tact in engaging in conflict and holding people accountable for behaviors.

This then becomes the ideal team player model. All three virtues of being humble, hungry and smart. Someone with only one or two of these qualities will show these signs:

A person who is humble only will be a pawn and others will dominate them as they live primarily for harmony and not team performance. The hungry only person is a bulldozer. They will seek to get things done but more for their own interests, and quickly destroy a team. The smart only person is a charmer. They can be entertaining and likeable for a while but have little interest in the long-term well-being of their colleagues. Their contributions are negligible and their initial likeable welcome wears thin as they don't get anything done.

Within these when a person has two out of three you then get the accidental mess makers, the lovable slackers and the skillful politicians. If a person is lacking in one of these three virtues these characteristics surface.

More about
Patrick M. Lencioni at The Table Group.

All these characteristics are in the Scriptures. The Spirit responds to the humble heart; we are to seek God's direction in our lives and can discern what is the motive behind all men. In the Spirit we form covenant relationships. Here's an except from Cultivating Covenant Connections:

In Ephesians and Colossians, the Apostle Paul guides us in the Spiritual ingredients that build up and strengthen the Covenant Connection.

He says be kind, tenderhearted, forgiving in the same manner Christ has forgiven you. Replace your old nature with His Spirit. Do not tell lies, but the truth. Don't steal, but be productive so you can contribute to those in need. Avoid using foul or abusive language, instead let everything you say be helpful and for the good of others. Always encourage people, so your words lift them up and don't put them down. Get rid of all bitterness, anger, harsh words and slander. Be a joyful and inspiring person to be around. (see Ephesians 4)

As this is cultivated, blended into how we relate, the relationship welds into a bond that can't be severed. Faith with love is the power. This is love in action. What you set out to do will get done... only as our relationships are enriched through love, being kind, tenderhearted and forgiving of each other.

The Apostle Paul exhorts the Colossians to eliminate from our lives what destroys relationships. Live out what boosts relationships. He compares the two. Some things lurk in you that you get from the world's self-destructing practices. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality and impurities of life, lust and evil desires. Don't be greedy and crave the things of the world. Subdue anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander and vulgar talk. Tell the truth, and don't make up things just to make you look good.

Instead, be a person who is kind and considerate, merciful, humble, gentle with gracious speech. Be patient with others and tolerant of another person's faults. Forgive others and above all live in love. Love is what binds us together and builds the bond that nourishes a covenant relationship. Live in peace, and settle disagreements quickly. Don't sacrifice a relationship just to win an argument and be right. It is better to win in binding a relationship, than to win in making your point (especially when something is not that important).

When we live with these principles intertwined in our lives and all of our relationships, and others do it too, we have a strong, unbending bond. Then we will do remarkable things.