You ask for a team player. Can you handle him?

I haven’t counted, but most of the job ads mention that the applicant should be a team player. Is it really a selection criterion, is it some kind of filtering statement that prevents the lone rangers from applying or does it suggest the working environment and how to fit in? Being what it may, are you certain you get something predictable, something you can handle when you ask for a team player?

Primo:  a team player doesn’t necessarily behave like one .
You want people who act like the best team players do in the context of the job. Being a team player or knowing what a teamplayer does and doesn’t do is supportive to the behavior, but it’s the behavior itself you’re after.

Secundo: if you trust your “team player” assessment, why you have to do the assessment?
The only thing you assess is that a person can behave as a team player in the assessment context and you trust that he will behave likewise on the job. If your argument is that people have the best of intentions and that they can be trusted, I am with you. But what is the value of assessing it? A simple “yes” from the candidate to the question if he will behave like a team player in his work context has at least as much value as the findings from the assessment.

Tertio: are you certain that you and the candidate have the same idea about how a team player behaves?
And even if you agree on how he behaves, how would you check that? The knowledge means nothing. Again, it’s the behavior itself you’re after.

Why are you after the behavior? You’ll have a number of good reasons. Chances are that you believe that this behavior will bring the team or the company a positive result of some kind. Maybe even that it is crucial to perform well in the specific job. You may have found some evidence in statistics, survey results and research. If it is important enough to write it in a job ad, it must be high on your list of requirements. If it is that important, why don’t you do more to make your own team player, one who naturally behaves like you know a team player does?

That is where collaboration coaching fills in the gaps. A collaboration coach will detect on which level his coachee is functioning. He’ll make the coachee aware of his limiting beliefs and help them replace by beliefs that support sustainable behavior. After that, you really don’t need to impose rules nor protocol. You know, at the end of the day, we all share common values. Starting from those, we all like to behave like team players do. What the heck: we’re all team players.

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One comment on “You ask for a team player. Can you handle him?”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by jvanderpol, Erik Lauwers. Erik Lauwers said: You ask for a team player. Can you handle him?: http://wp.me/pHMUv-27 [...]


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