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What characteristics should new team members possess? As churches start new programs, hire new staff, or elect persons to leadership positions this question is important to ask.

Here Are 3 Essential Virtues for Ideal Team Players

(Please note: this content is based on the Entre Leadership Podcast #155 – “The Ideal Team Player”)


Humility is the most indispensable virtue of being a team player. If someone cannot put the team before themselves they cannot be a good team player. There are two harmful types of people when it comes to the lack of humility. The more obvious is the arrogant person. This person is unwilling to listen, learn, or take instructions. They will hinder a team’s forward movement.  

The second person thinks too little of themselves. They are unwilling to offer opinions or champion their own ideas. This type of person is unable to discern their unique contribution to the team. C.S. Lewis said of humility, “It is not thinking less of yourself, but it is thinking about yourself less.” Confidence is a good thing. God has given everyone gifts for service to others.


Hungry people are self-motivated. They’re always willing to do a bit more. When combined with humility these people are willing to work below their pay grade. They see the work that needs to be done and are willing to do it.

This is not to be confused with being a workaholic. A person that does so much work that nothing is done well can be a dangerous thing. Hungry people need to balance desire to see work accomplished with good life balance.

A strong work ethic is difficult to instill. Generally, a person develops this in youth. A diligent training investment can help, but most persons will not figure this out on their own.


Smart is defined as effectiveness in working with and through others. This is not, simply, good book knowledge. Smart people understand that what they say can be taken poorly by others in the room. A talented individual that is not smart offends everyone along the way and diminishes the effectiveness of the team as a whole.

Applying this to existing teams

Even if you are not looking to recruit new team members this information can be helpful in strengthening an existing team. For example, team leaders can have team members rank themselves strongest to weakest in these three categories. Pair people who share the same weakest category so they can discuss how they can improve in humility, hunger, or being relationally smart. This will create helpful self-reflection and stimulate conversations about improving as team members.

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