Are You Really a Team Player?

A team is not a group of people who work together. A team is a group of people who trust each other. – Simon Sinek

For many of us, the idea of being part of a team is something we’ve identified with from an early age. Many of us were introduced to the concept of being on a team from our Little League days, or choosing teams with our neighborhood friends for an afternoon of backyard football, or whom we wanted to play with at recess.

While our earliest recollections of teams and teamwork may not mirror those early days,  it’s not a concept that is lost on us now. We all want to be on the winning team and we all want teammates that will give us that competitive advantage. And we can still play favorites.

As leaders, how we model teamwork is important. Unlike the backyard football game, the stakes are higher and more is riding on the outcome. What kind of a team player are you? Here are a few questions to ponder. After some honest reflection, decide for yourself, if you are really a team player or an imposter.

Does my attitude benefit my team or undermine it?

Teams that succeed do so with players who have a positive attitude. There’s just really  no other way around it. Is your attitude one that lifts your team or tears it down? Is your attitude a reliable one that others can look to and emulate and from it gain the confidence and courage they need in a moment of doubt or uncertainty? Or on the other hand, do you entertain those with a bad attitude by lending them a sympathetic ear? Remember, what you tolerate you promote, and this is especially true as it relates to attitudes.

Am I looking out for my own interest, or what is best for the team?

This is an age-old problem for many teams. If you are only looking out for your own interests and your own agenda, and not that of the team, can you really say that you are a team player? Babe Ruth was right when he said, “The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.” If you are promoting your own interests over the team, it’s likely you really aren’t a team player.

Do I celebrate the successes and accomplishments of my teammates?

One of the hallmarks of a successful team is realized when fellow team members can celebrate the achievements and successes of one of its peers. At the end of the day they understand that when he or she wins, the team wins. If you are blinded by petty jealousy or insecurities you are really not a team player.

Am I open to new ideas and change or am I a hindrance to it?

Teams that succeed are growth-minded and are always looking for ways to improve. They realize that they can’t rest on yesterday’s win, and they must be open to new ideas. If you are always resisting change and your mantra is “we’ve never done it this way before,” then chances are you are really not a team player you’re simply standing in the way of those trying to move forward.

Am I intentional and consistent about adding value to my team?

A team player is not one out to protect his or her own agenda or playing politics, and not saying one thing in public while undermining and scheming behind the scenes in private. Are you looking for ways to add value and lift others? Are you willing to put others ahead of yourself for the good of the team?  If so, chances are, you are a team player.


Doug Dickerson
Doug Dickerson
DOUG has been speaking to audiences in the U.S. and overseas for more than 30 years. Doug knows how to spin a story, make you laugh, and how to challenge your traditional ways of thinking about leadership. Most of all, Doug is committed to helping you grow as a leader. Doug is a graduate of Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida and studied Clinical Pastoral Education at Palmetto Baptist Medical Center in Columbia, South Carolina. While his leadership expertise has its roots in ministry and teaching. His background also includes public relations and business. Doug understands the necessity of leadership development and why creating a leadership culture in your organization is critical to your success. He is the author of four leadership books including: Leaders Without Borders, 9 Essentials for Everyday Leaders, Great Leaders Wanted, It Only Takes a Minute: Daily Inspiration for Leaders on the Move, and Leadership by the Numbers. As a speaker, Doug delivers practical and applicable leadership insights with a dose of humor and authenticity that endears him to a wide range of audiences. Doug is a John Maxwell Team member.

CHECK FOR TICKETS / JOIN OUR WAITING LIST! It's not a virtual event. It's not a conference. It's not a seminar, a meeting, or a symposium. It's not about attracting a big crowd. It's not about making a profit, but rather about making a real difference. LEARN MORE HERE



  1. There is no “I” in team. Though there is a “M” and an “E”. Teams are a balance act between individual interests. For teams to work, we need to give to take. And we need to give first.

    A lot of teams don’t perform because the person in charge is in charge because they like to be in charge. It’s fun to be in charge, until you have to make the tough calls.