Humble, Hungry, and (People) Smart: Skills for the Perfect Team Player


February 2022

Humble, Hungry and (People) Smart: Skills for the Perfect Team Player

What is the most important asset to have when building a business? Great people.

Many others will also tell you this—Jim Collins, Craig Rochelle, Andy Stanley, and Tony Robbins to name a few. However, everyone has their own opinion on what to look for in the ideal team member.

The perfect hire depends on the culture of the organization as well as the specific role. But we have found the perfect, practical description of the three traits that are needed in every team player from Patrick Lencioni’s book The Ideal Team Player. We highly recommend this book, as we have implemented his approach with great success at Red Door, but we will give the elevator pitch here:

There are 3 essential traits for the perfect hire: every great team player is humble, hungry, and smart (people smart).

Humble: thinking of others more than yourself; being able to give praise and take criticism easily. With the right questions, it’s easy to spot a humble team player during an interview.

Hungry: driven; willing to work until the job gets done. Anyone can fake dedication for a short time, so this is tougher to evaluate during an interview. Tip: look for persistence in past experiences on a person’s resume.

People Smart: being aware of how one’s actions and reactions affect those around them. People-awareness can be assessed most easily with an in-person interview.

Lencioni goes into depth regarding each of these traits and describes how to find them in new-hires. While that is valuable, we found that the most valuable part was learning how to help our current team get better across these characteristics. We have seen huge results by simply using this framework to talk with our staff about the areas in which they need to improve. Simply being aware of these qualities has led to huge changes with many of our staff.

Hiring and teaching based on this humble, hungry, and people smart framework has been a huge win in shaping our culture at Red Door. If you’d like to see for yourself, come meet the Red Door team and try an escape room with us! Find a location near you and book an episode.

If you want to learn more about effective teamwork in the workplace, check out our blog about Creating a Culture of Teamwork.

This post has been updated as of July 2020

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