What Qualities Make a Great Team Member?

Do you know the qualities that make a great team member?

Most of speakers and trainers focus on how to create a better supervisor, manager, president, team captain or CEO. How many seminars, educational sessions or keynote speeches are focused on being a great team member?

As a former collegiate basketball coach, I know one thing for certain: if you have too many people trying to lead and nobody willing to follow, you have a recipe for failure. When you have four or five people on a team wanting to be the one—the one who is the point guard, the one who gets the most shots, the one who gets her name in the newspaper—your team will not win very many games. Granted, you won’t win very many games if you don’t have a great leader, but a winning team requires the perfect combination to win championships.

The recipe for championships holds true for companies and organizations too. If you want to win in productivity, profit, customer service, and sales, you’ve got to have the perfect team.

Success is based on the ability of your team members to hold to the top seven followership characteristics:

  1. Committed to the success of the team, group, company or organization.
  2. Flexible and adaptable.
  3. Active listeners. They know how to ask questions, listen and provide valuable insight.
  4. Focus on what is best for the team through compromise.
  5. Look for creative methods to solve challenges.
  6. Able to take a back seat when necessary without losing self-confidence.
  7. Take risks, step outside their comfort zones and always give more than is expected.

Most of us are team members even if we are leaders. I’ll never forgot one athletic department staff meeting when our athletic director tried to get all the coaches to use the same formula for grade checks. The football coach said, “I don’t care what we decide as a group here; I’m going to do grade checks the way that works best for me.” And the men’s basketball coach said, “We’ve been doing grade checks successfully for five years; we’re not going to change now.

Incredulously, I listened to the football and basketball coaches argue for their ways. Finally, I said, “I just have one question. What would you guys do if your quarterback or point guard refused to follow your team plays? How would you react?

To be a respectable team leader, you’ve got to be a great team player. To be a phenomenal team player, you’ve got to be to control your ego and have confidence that even if you are NOT THE ONE, you are still an IMPORTANT ONE.


Team players are the people who can check their ego at the door while still keeping their confidence they are compelling members of the team.”

P.S. I present a variety of leadership and team building keynote presentations. If you or your company are not exhibiting championship qualities, email me at sherry@thewinningleadershipcompany.com. Building winning teams is what I do.

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