Rise Performance Group

4 Reasons to Focus Your Team Building Around Team Players, Not Just High Achievers

By Diamond Richardson

Every team is different but all have the common characteristic of a shared end goal. This is the reason the team exists. Pursuit of this end goal is the measure of a team’s success. It does not matter if a team is comprised of the best employees at your company. If they are not making timely progression toward a goal, the team has failed. It may seem that selecting the highest performing employees would make the most successful team possible. But the highest performing employees are not always the best picks.

High performers who lack teamwork skills are typically results-driven and eager to show managers how they alone have contributed to improving the bottom line. Their focus on personal results can cause them to lose focus on what is in the team’s best interest. The foundation of a team should be high-performing employees who are also team players. Team players are excited to identify themselves as a part of the team. This enthusiasm gets other employees excited. Every manager building a team should build teams around team players. Here are four reasons you need them:

  1. They are passionate. Team players give up personal benefits for the team’s gain. These employees are so enthusiastic about a team’s goals that they are willing to take on any task, even if it is not one of their typical job duties. High performers who lack teamwork skills tend to prefer to stick with what they know because it is the best way for them to shine.
  2. They are not on the team for personal gain. The days of loyalty to one or two companies during your career are over. Employees today often accept jobs that may not seem attractive to them at first to gain skills and then move on. Managers, however, still value loyalty and dedication to the company. Successful team members typically believe in the company and see themselves as a piece of a puzzle helping to move the company forward.
  3. Their personality fits well with other potential members of the team. How well a team gels together can be the difference between a soaring success and an embarrassing failure. No matter how great the team looks on paper, poor attitudes and clashing personalities can halt productivity. Team players tend to be cooperative and good listeners. High performers who have a difficult time cooperating with other people may not be the best fit for a team. A personality assessment, such as the Profiles Performance Indicator™, reveals which aspects of an employee’s personality could impact how they work with other team members.
  4. Team players are more likely to ask for input from all team members. High achievers often have great ideas and know that they do. This can make them likely to discount other employees’ ideas if they are not accustomed to being on a team. An effective team member listens to everyone because they understand that collaboration brings to light new ways of fixing problems.

How do you find team players? In addition to personality assessments like the PPI, references from past team members are helpful. Here are examples of the questions you can ask an employee’s previous team member:

  • What did you like best about being on a team with him/her?
  • What did you like the least?
  • Did he/she listen to other team members ideas?
  • Did he/she contribute to the team by doing his/her job and offering new ideas?

Asking employees directly why they want to be a part of a team is also a good idea. If the employees mention company goals and their willingness to do a variety of tasks, you could be looking at your team’s newest members!

How do you select the best people for your teams?

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