best-selling author Patrick Lencioni

Excited to learn new leadership methods at the 2020 Nexstar Super Meeting? Grab a head start on some of the teachings with Dexcomm!

This year's Nexstar Network Super Meeting will have several keynote speakers, including Patrick Lencioni. In this blog, I will share how we've used Lencioni's teachings throughout our company. 

Let me start off by sending a large THANK YOU to Patrick Lencioni and his book “The Ideal Team Player”.  It has worked wonders for myself, my team, and our entire company at Dexcomm. 

Shifting the focus from the development of the individual to how the individual contributes to the greater team is a lesson Dexcomm has taken to heart and is the reason we are stronger than ever, despite what 2020 has thrown our way!  

Using Lencioni Teachings In The Workplace

Humble, Hungry, and Smart.  Those are the three key ingredients, described by Lencioni, that make an individual an “Ideal Team Player”. 

Being an ideal team player is not about having one or two of these critical attributes, it is about having all three. We will get into the dangers of lacking in one or many of these areas in a bit. 

The concept of being an ideal team player transcends the workplace as well. The need to be a great teammate is critical to the success of one’s professional and personal life.  From the office to the home-front, it will take a Humble, Hungry, and Smart teammate to get the job done right.

Let's go over exactly what it means to be Humble, Hungry, and Smart!

Humble

Let’s start with Humble, as it is the most important quality of the three. A team member that does not possess humility can be extremely toxic to the overall cohesiveness of the group. 

Whenever an employee lacks humility, they typically are focused on their own ego and success. When other team members take notice of this, it can be impossible to support, and the team as a whole will suffer. 

Keep in mind that while it is important for your team members to showcase humility, they shouldn’t be so humble that they are meek. An overly humble team member who withholds their talents, opinions, and contributions from the team can also cause harm. 

Hungry

Hungry is exactly what it sounds like, a strong work ethic.  Now, being hungry does not mean that a team member should be a workaholic. That is not what a team needs out of their teammate, because the teammate will burnout and no longer be able to contribute.

However, it is about doing more than the minimum that is asked or expected of you.  A hungry team member will lead by example and have actions that speak louder than words.

Smart

We finish with Smart, but this is not regarding one’s I.Q., educational background, how many books they have read, or what position they hold on the team.  This is about a person’s emotional intelligence or E.Q.  In other words, being Smart is about being a smart communicator.

Being a smart communicator means using your words to get the most out of your teammates.  Everyone is different when it comes to how they want to be led or interacted with and a teammate that possesses the Smart trait can recognize these differences and productively engage accordingly.

Whenever an employee is humble, hungry, and smart, they are what Lencioni considers to be an ideal team player.

The 3 Personas

Now that you are familiar with the concept of being an “Ideal Team Player”, let us take a quick look into the three personas created by Lencioni. We’ll also explain the impact that each of these three types of employees has on their team. 

The Skillful Politician This describes an individual that possesses strong evaluations in both Hungry and Smart, but lacks in Humble.  This can be the most dangerous combination of personas.  Because a “Skillful Politician” is Smart and Hungry, they know exactly how to communicate with others, even to the point where they are communicating humility, but are actually focusing on their own personal gain instead.  Eventually, the team will see the truth and the toxicity of this member will be too much to overcome.

Remember that some employees who struggle with humility are not skillful politicians. These are the employees who are overly humble. They may be unsure of themselves and unwilling to speak up in meetings or share their opinions with the group. While not necessarily toxic, these employees can still harm the team.

The Loveable Slacker – This describes an individual that possesses strong evaluations in both Humble and Smart, but lacks in Hungry.  A “Loveable Slacker” will do the bare minimum, but you’ll often overlook this because of their personality.  They are extremely loveable, personable, and tolerable but leave work undone and can do just as much damage to a team as the other personas.

The Accidental Messmaker - This describes an individual that possesses strong evaluations in both Humble and Hungry, but lacks in Smart.  An “Accidental Messmaker” means well with every action and word.  They have great attitudes and are committed to doing right by the team.  Unfortunately, they do not have the skills to communicate that with their teammates and can end up losing the support from others even though they were coming from the right place.

Lencioni Practical Exercise

Here at Dexcomm, Patrick Lencioni’s “The Ideal Team Player” has really hit home.  We have asked our leadership and management teams to adapt, apply, and reinforce this concept across the entire company.

Outside of following this link to Patrick Lencioni’s site for more material on The Ideal Team Player, I would ask that you consider working the same self-evaluation exercise with your colleagues that we did:

1. On a Zoom call, or in person, gather your team together.

2. Explain to them the idea of the Ideal Team Player and the three key qualities: humble, hungry and smart.

3. After going over Lencioni's three personas, have each team member assess their own weakness. Allow them to share with the team what they feel is their weakness. 

4. This allows team members to identify areas to improve and allows for other team members to learn more about their fellow employees. For example, if one team member expresses that they have an issue with Hunger, other team members can help them by setting reminders or holding them more accountable for certain tasks. 

Key Points

  • Humble, Hungry and Smart: these three characterisitcs can make or break your team! By analyzing yourself and team members, you can address any issues and work towards becoming an ideal team player.
  • Share this information with your teammates, professionally and personally, and prepare to discuss your own strengths and weaknesses with one another. 
  • Being vulnerable and becoming more aware of what your teammates need from you and you of them will take your team from “efficient” to “effective”!

Don't Miss Us!

Dexcomm will be attending Nexstar Network's 2020 Super Meeting as a strategic partner. Will you be attending? Meet us there!


Dexcomm is a Louisiana-based corporation that provides answering services to businesses and service agencies across the United States. We have been open since 1954, employ a staff of roughly 50 people, and our average client retention rate is 10+ years.

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Read More About The Author: Jed Antoun