3 Ideal Team Player Traits in Every Strong Team

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Is Your Upper Cervical Practice Filled with Ideal Team Players?

In Patrick Lencioni’s must-read book Ideal Team Player, he identifies 3 crucial characteristics to look for in hiring, evaluating, and firing team members. Ideal team players must be humble, hungry, and smart. When your practice is filled with ideal team players your impact, influence, and income will explode.

Today we are going to explore each of these traits and help you to identify whether or not your team members have them. We will also give you tools to help you in your hiring process to find team players with these crucial characteristics.

This principle has been one of the most important discoveries that I’ve made and has been an incredible blessing to our business. I’m confident that it can make a huge impact on your practice as well if you apply this principle and are disciplined to hire, evaluate, and fire according to it.

Ideal team player

Staff vs Team

But first, a quick word on a common term that’s used in chiropractic practices and that word is “staff”.

I would encourage you to change the vernacular you use when referring to the people who work with you.

The difference between a team and a staff is huge!

A staff is there to serve you but a team is there to serve together.

A staff emphasizes that you are more important than everyone else but a team understands that all members are important and are needed for success.

In order to make the change, it has to start with you. If you embrace this concept you should begin to change how you refer to your team today.

Talk about it in an upcoming staff meeting…I mean team meeting :-).


Humility is the most important characteristic to look for in an ideal team player for your practice. If someone is filled with arrogance or self-pity (which are just 2 different forms of pride that are all about self) they will likely not be successful in your practice long-term.

Humble people are focused on the team, the patients, and serving others.

Hiring Humble People

During the hiring process get the potential team member to talk about their past work and projects. Listen closely to the words that they use.

Are they very I-focused or very we-focused?

Humble people tend to talk more about what the team was able to accomplish rather than what they were able to do themselves.

You can also ask them to discuss their weaknesses. Humble people understand that they have strengths and weaknesses and are not afraid to admit that.

Humble people are quick to point out the contributions of others and slow to seek attention for their own.

They lack excessive ego or concerns about status.

They share credit, emphasize team over self and define success collectively rather than individually.

This is the kind of person that you want on your team.

Are Your Current Team Members Humble?

Do you have a team member right now who is weak in humility?

This may be a deal breaker. If they exude the next 2 characteristics we will discuss (hungry and people smart) then you may be able to train them to be more humble but they have to know that they struggle in this area. If they cannot accept that they struggle with pride then it will be very difficult to get them to be an ideal team player for your practice.


The 2nd characteristic of an ideal team player is that they are hungry. Hungry people go the extra mile to accomplish a result. They are goal-oriented and enjoy hard work.

You do not want lazy people on your team.

The ideal team player has a fantastic combination of personal humility and professional ambition.

Their focus is on the mission, the team, and the patients.

Hiring Hungry People

Ask them during the interview to talk about a time when they needed to go above and beyond and put in extra hours in order to accomplish a goal either personally or professionally.

Hungry people are always looking for more.

More things to do.

More to learn.

More responsibility to take on.

Hungry people almost never have to be pushed by a manager to work harder because they are self-motivated and diligent.

They are constantly thinking about the next step and the next opportunity.

Are Your Current Team Members Hungry?

Do you feel like you are constantly pushing your team to get things done? Are they self-motivated? Do they come up with new ideas to make things better in your practice? Or are you constantly having to come up with all of the innovations?

Again if you have a team member who is humble and people-smart but struggles with hunger you can encourage them and train them to grow in this area. But they must be willing to be held accountable in order to improve.


The last characteristic of an ideal team player is that they are smart. This is not primarily intelligence (although that is important also) but this is about being people smart.

This is about having relational intelligence.

Being able to interact with others. People that are people smart are empathetic. They have the ability to adapt to a conversation depending on the person that they are talking to.

They have common sense about people.

Smart people tend to know what is happening in a group situation and how to deal with others in the most effective way.

They have good judgment and intuition around the subtleties of group dynamics and the impact of their words and actions.

Hiring Smart People

I recommend doing group interviews.

When you have 10 to 15 candidates in your lobby, watch how they interact with each other and with your current team members.

Also, during the interview how does the person make you feel?

Someone that is people smart will be good with people and will be able to communicate in a way that makes you feel comfortable.

If you feel uneasy or bored when you are talking to them then they likely struggle with being people smart.

Are Your Current Team Members Smart?

Are your current team members good with people?

Do your patients like them even more than they like you (or at least as much)?

Do they easily make connections with patients?

Do you have a team member that’s abrasive?

Do you have a team member that you just don’t enjoy working with because they make you feel uneasy?

If you have a team member who is humble and hungry but struggles with relational intelligence you can train them to develop their social skills. But again they must be willing to change and eager to improve in this area in order to become an ideal team player.

I hope this blog was a blessing to you. Apply these principles in your hiring, evaluating, and firing team members and it will make a dramatic impact in your practice!

If you need help building a great team connect with us and schedule a practice evaluation with our team today!

About the Author: Dr. Bill Davis
Dr. Bill Davis is the Founder and CEO of uppercervicalmarketing.com. His goal is to spread the word about the best-kept secret in health through Upper Cervical Specific Business and Marketing Solutions.
UCM Practice Growth Systems (Upper Cervical Marketing) we specialize exclusively in helping Upper Cervical Practices grow through marketing strategies and practice growth coaching.
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