Are you an effective team player?

B. Keith Chapman, President & CEO


The concept of a team and the proven benefit thereof is well understood by most. Yet, it is not uncommon to find some that remain committed to independent work. Anyone can be a team player, but contributing to the overall success of the team is altogether something different. Each team member plays an important role in how much the team can accomplish. While teams likely have a leader or two, their success is still limited by the individual contributions of each member.


Mother Teresa once said, “None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.” The thing I like the most about her perspective on our individual contributions is her mention of love. After all, love is the greatest commandment. Contributing with love implies that we are considering not only the benefit to ourselves but to others as well. The concept of the greater good is sometimes lost in our daily routine. The same is true about the importance of individual contributions. Not all may contribute at the same level, but together the group is stronger.


Insecurity and pride can easily prohibit people from being an effective team player. These traits push people away from working with others and ultimately limit accomplishments. Furthermore, the inability to identify with a team often impacts an individual’s behavior and sense of accountability. The truth is, we all play an important role on multiple teams. While not all teams have names, uniforms, and practice, they nonetheless exist in various forms in each of our lives. Take, for example, your place of employment. Each employer has a common mission, vision, and list of values. Some are formally identified and others are simply understood. When hired, you become part of a team working toward a common goal. In larger organizations, you may even serve on a few smaller teams focused on certain aspects of the business that need attention. In this case, you will find yourself accountable to more than one team. If we take it one step forward, we can also count our family, church, and social groups as teams. Each of these groups presents a different layer of accountability in which we are expected to contribute. While we may not think of some of these groups as a “team” in the traditional sense, they share a common mission that relies on each of us to do our part.


The book of Ecclesiastes Chapter 4 starting in verse 9 does a great job describing the direct benefit of a team. It says, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person fails, the other can reach out and help. But someone who fails alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken”. Bottom line… we are better off together than we are alone.



Challenge: Identify the “teams” in which you are a member. Never underestimate the importance of your contributions regardless of your role. Embrace your responsibility as a member. Never forget that we are stronger together than we are alone.  


Published: June 1, 2019

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