Why the 1,000-Hour Pro is the ultimate team player

A couple of months ago, I read Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Ideal Team Player. The book has gotten a lot of attention from business leaders and learners alike, as it should. I would strongly recommend reading the book from cover to cover, but for the sake of today, I’ll give you the bottom line. Lencioni asserts that the ideal team player is “humble, hungry and smart.” Humility is fairly self-explanatory. Hunger is the ideal team player’s desire to get better. Smart is the one that is a bit unique. Smart is the ability of the ideal team player to “read the room.” The ideal team player has a high emotional intelligence and knows how to deal with people in a self-aware manner.

When those three characteristics are perfectly in balance, you find the ideal team player. Lucky for us, at their best, the 1,000-Hour Pros cover those bases pretty well. Here’s how.

The 1,000-Hour Pro is humble.

Humility is one of the bases for the 1,000-Hour Pro, as well as the ideal team player. The Pro is always learning and searching for new challenges. When those new challenges arise, the Pro is aware that they aren’t the expert and have a ton to learn. If you try to learn without a humble attitude, you’ll find yourself not only learning next to nothing, but you’ll have made quite a few people upset. Asking experts to help you learn is the best way to get better and become a Pro in any area, but no one likes to work with someone who isn’t humble. Approach a new task with humility, and you’re well on your way to adding a skill to the tool belt.

The 1,000-Hour Pro is hungry.

A lazy 1,000-Hour Pro is truly an oxymoron. The Pro is always looking for the next challenge and how they can get better. That’s the definition of hunger. A desire to be a constant learner paired with a discontent for mediocrity makes the Pro a worker that is willing to hustle and grind until the job is not only done but done well. And even then, “well” doesn’t just mean up to the status quo. The Pro knows that to stand out, they have to go above and beyond and create something completely new. That’s part of what drives their hunger and makes them the team player your team can’t live without.

The 1,000-Hour Pro is smart.

Because the 1,000-Hour Pro doesn’t have one specific niche that they know a lot about, they also have to be able to interact with many different people. Existing in multiple skill worlds requires different hats to be worn when interacting with people, as well as knowing what people need emotionally in each specific situation. The Pro knows all of this as they’ve been a part of each person’s work world at different times. The emotional intelligence of a pro is unmatched because interaction after interaction has given them the chance to experience the spectrum.

So what’s all this boil down to? When Lencioni describes the ideal team player, he’s describing the 1,000-Hour Pro. The way that the 1,000-Hour Pros operate forces them to check off every one of Lencioni’s pieces to being an ideal team player. So the questions I have for you are… 1.) If you’re a manager, why wouldn’t you want the Pros on your team? Fill your team with Pros, and your team will push forward like you haven’t seen before. 2.) If you aren’t a Pro, why not? Choose to be a Pro, and you’ll be a team player that your organization can’t live without.

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