A team player values the benefits of teamwork most.
Ultimately, everyone wants to be a part of something greater; a team player will make sacrifices in order to achieve that greater goal.
This requires that team leadership establish common values that encourage individuals to sacrifice personal goals for the good of the team.
“The most difficult thing for individuals to do when they are part of a team is to sacrifice. Without sacrifice, you’ll never know your team’s potential, or your own.”--Pat Riley, NBA Coach
Being Part of Something Greater
Team players want to share their successes with each other because they would rather be part of a championship team than the most valuable player who walks away without the coveted championship award.
History is full of examples of great players on good teams, but fewer instances of championship teams that figured out the benefits of teamwork.
The following story shows how one famous basketball player had experienced both personal and team success, but felt a greater desire to be a team player and part of a winning team.
A “Magic” Story ...
… taken from The Winner Within: A Life Plan for Team Players, by Pat Riley (1993).
As a youth, Earvin “Magic” Johnson was a very gifted basketball player. Time after time, his team won championships, but he felt something was missing and he developed an overriding need to share his successes with others.
During his brief college career, “Magic” led his Michigan State Spartans to the NCAA title before being drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers. In his first year in the NBA, he was named Rookie of the Year and once again led a talented team to an NBA title.
After winning the title, Coach Pat Riley told “Magic” that he had never seen anyone like him in more than twenty years of playing and coaching basketball, that is, someone who combined great skills with a great attitude.
When Coach Riley asked how he came to be that way, “Magic” told him that even as his teams won one championship after another, he would look around to share his joy but his teammates did not feel the same; they just looked miserable.
“Magic” told him that he was always the biggest and the best and his coaches told him to shoot, but this made his teammates feel like nobodies; he did not want it to be that way.
Team Players Experience Greater Success
“Magic” recognized the human need to share success with one another outweighed any individual reward. The lessons he learned as a youth helped shape his attitude and made him an incredible team player.
As “Magic” grew with the L.A. Lakers, he became known for his unselfish play and making his teammates better.
As the team connected and started working together, they were able to enjoy the benefits of teamwork, which included winning five NBA Championship titles. The L.A. Lakers during the 1980s were truly part of something greater!
“My driving belief is this: great teamwork is the only way to reach our ultimate moments, to create breakthroughs that define our careers, to fulfill our lives with a sense of lasting significance”-- Pat Riley
Imagine capturing “Magic’s” team player attitude for your organization.
As your team recognizes the benefits of teamwork, they will experience greater success!
Take a look at the team building skills Coach Riley applied to the L.A. Lakers dynasty as they won five NBA titles during the 1980s.
Through various team building exercises, your organization can enjoy the long-term benefits of teamwork.
More on Building Teams
Teamwork requires trust in leadership and confidence in one another. Review how the importance of teamwork plays out in a life or death scenario.
Leaders who instill a team player attitude recognize the benefits of teamwork and create an environment that enables others to feel that they can be a part of something greater.
Teamwork in the workplace means it is everyone’s job to make and improve the team. Good teams have good leaders, but great teams leverage informal leadership within the organization as well.
Great teams are no accident. It requires team building skills that guide everyone to work together toward a shared vision or goal.
A team building exercise can develop leaders while simultaneously fostering a cooperative team attitude.
Effective teamwork is critical for every successful organization. Ensure full communication and promote team building within your staff.