Characteristics of a great team mate
With the Olympics just starting I am reminded about some of the great teams I have been on and the 2000 Olympic wrestling team was one of the greatest teams I was ever a part of. I have been on some great teams throughout my career. My high school team was 2nd in the state. At CCC Clackamas Community College we had an amazing team and they are still putting out the best teams in the nation at the JUCO level. When I went to Nebraska we beat the perennial power house University of Iowa coached by the legendary Dan Gable to win the national team title. That same year we took 2nd in the NCAA’s. I was on multiple Pan Am and world teams that were amazing. Looking back though the 2000 Olympic team was a great team and we had great team mates. It’s not that we didn’t have problems because we had plenty, but what made the team so great was we had so great team members.
Throughout the years, I have had great team mates and some who weren’t so great as well. What is it that makes a great team mate? How can I be a great team mate. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do you will be a team member and its up to you what kind of team mate you are going to be. The reality is, we are all part of some kind of team, wherever we are in a sport or not, family, church, business, your community, social groups we are all part of teams. It’s important for us to know what a great teammate looks like and also how to be a great teammate and here are my thoughts on what a great team mate looks like.
So here are a few thoughts on being a great team member:
- Great teammates are finishers. They get the job done. They finish what they start, they keep their word. When they they say they will meet you for extra conditioning work-out they show up on time ready to go. A team has to be a cohesive unit to function most effectively. We all have our individual goals and the members of team that are great team mates are equally committed to the teams goals as they are there own individual goals, and this shows.
- Great teammates hold themselves and their teammates accountable. Bottom line is people need to just do what they say they are going to do. Be careful not to over commit. As a leader everyone likes to come to you first, so be sure you are not taking on more than you want or can handle. Be intentional in your commitments and hold others accountable to there commitments. It’s hard to forget when someone commits to do something and they don’t follow through. This hurts the entire team and makes it hard to build trust.
- Great teammates anticipate. Great team mates understand what needs to be done next before others. Great team mates are always looking for ways to step up and help the team. Whether that simply means being there for your team mates, or just showing up on time for others. I love to see the guys sticking around after practice helping each other build a new skill and just working together. A WE first mentality starts at the top with the leader, who has to set the tone in word and in action. If you are hearing “it’s not my job,” then we have pride issues. One of my team mates at the olympic training center (OTC Team) did not make the olympic squad but was one of the most valuable team mates we brought with us to Sydney. This man got an apartment right next to the wrestling venue so we had a place to cut weight and rest in between rounds. No one asked he just showed up and took care of this and little things like this can make such an impact.
- Great team mates are humble. Pride comes before the fall and for teams the same holds true. A team mate should always be pulling others up to their level and never tearing others down. Good team mates never criticize the leadership or their team mates and always praise in the public eye, enough said. We are in this together and the better I make my training partners the better I have to be. I have been the worst guy on some of my teams but I knew if i stuck it out training with the best guys i would soon find my self among the best.
- Great teammates are trustworthy. Either not trusting the leader, or not trusting each other is a killer of morale and momentum. Trust comes with time, but also is fueled by interaction and shared experiences. So make sure you are creating opportunities for trust to be built within and among your team. Remember communication is key in building trust. If you have a question or issue have the courage to confront the problem the person and work things out. Like is way to short to hold grudges. Finds ways to forgive others and move on for the good of the team. A coward just gets up set and moves on and builds a habit of running away from their problems.
- Great teammates are vision copycats. They take on, embody and live out the vision and mission of their leader, and of the Team. It starts at the top, the role of the leader is to cast the vision, but as leaders we also need to confront reality head on. A great team member sees the vision and pushes in that direction, but he also lives in the world and constantly has to deal with reality.
- Great teammates make their leaders better. They push their leader, they encourage the other team members to push and encourage the leadership and the coaches. There is communication and everyone is clear on the needs as long as it’s in line with the mission and the vision of the team.
- Great teammates make other teammates better. They know how to lead their peers and will step up when the team needs them, and don’t rely on the coach to be the only one motivating the team, as well as holding the other teammates accountable. There can’t be just one leader on a team everyone should be striving to lead. There are times when your team mates, your coaches are down or discouraged and you need to step up and learn to lead.
- Great teammates lead themselves. They don’t need to be managed daily, and aren’t needy. They don’t need attention all the time. A good team mate knows his role and responsibilities and follows through. Set an example for others, even if you are doing it to reach your own goals let you leadership motivate others around you.