Patrick Lencioni Shares How to Identify and Hire Team Players at Workfront LEAP User Conference

April 11, 2017 Shelbi Gomez

patrick lencioni leap

Being a “team player” is a phrase we have all heard over and over again. But it has become so commonplace that many don’t really understand what it truly takes to be a “team player.” According to best-selling author, Patrick Lencioni, there are three key virtues ideal team players have—humble, hungry, and smart.

patrick lencioni ideal team player

  1. Humble- Humility is at the core of being a great leader and team player. The greatest problem in most relationships is pride and humility is the ulitimate antidote. However, Lencioni explains that it is important to not confuse humility as a lack of confidence because that violates humility. Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is about thinking of yourself, less.
  2. Hungry- Lencioni is not talking about the need to eat here; he is talking about having a drive to be better and having a strong work ethic. He stresses that being hungry should not to be confused with being a workaholic. A workaholic is often a subtle indicator of someone with little humility.
  3. Smart - Being smart doesn’t always just refer to a person’s IQ. In this case, Lencioni is speaking solely to a person’s emotional intelligence. Being emotionally aware is having common sense when it comes to dealing with people and being able to form interpersonal connections.

So now that we know the 3 key virtues of being an ideal team player, how can you ensure that you are hiring these types of individuals? Lencioni says to stop focusing primarily on technical and mechanical skills and start focusing on the behavioral stuff.  He states that “the behavioral stuff lasts forever, skills change. “

 Here are 4 tips to improve the interview process:

1. Avoid siloed interviews

Interviewing is a team sport, not an individual one. Lencioni recommends doing the interview as a group, but if it must be done solo, make sure to sync up with the team afterwards to see if everyone agrees that they posses the key virtues of humble, hungry, and smart.  

2. Conduct non-traditional interviews

Have you ever been on a job interview while shopping, at soccer practice, or running an errand? Lencioni says this is a great way to get to really know a person. He says when you take them out the typical interview environment they are more likely to be themselves.

3. Ask questions more than once

Lencioni calls this the “Law and Order School of Management.” If you think back to your favorite cop show, they always ask the question until the person they are interrogating answers truthfully. He stresses to not ignore your gut feeling, if something feels off, you are probably right.

4. Scare people with your sincerity

Don’t just tell them all the good stuff, be brutally honest about the job and the values the company holds in high regard. Lencioni says in the long run, this will save them and the company a lot of heartache.


To learn more about the framework for identifying, hiring, and developing ideal team players, check out Patrick Lencioni’s book The Ideal Team Player.

patrick lencioni ideal team player

About the Author

Shelbi Gomez

Shelbi is an experienced public relations professional with experience in both agency and corporate marketing environments. She currently guides brand awareness, market research, analyst relations, and customer content. She has nearly a decade of BtoB and BtoC experience helping companies tell their stories in the changing media landscape — in traditional media outlets, social media, and now through content marketing.

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