The 5 Types of People Successful Teams Need

For many college basketball fans, the month of March is synonymous with the NCAA playoffs. Out of approximately 350 schools that play Division 1 basketball, 68 of the best teams are selected to participate in the tournament to see who will be the one, undisputed college basketball champion.

It takes a well-coordinated team to reach the highest levels of college basketball. No one player can make it to the big game on their own. And there’s no short supply of strategies for building a winning team. Each player is chosen not only for their specific skills, but also for how those skills complement other players’ strengths and weaknesses.

Just like in college basketball, building a great work team is a subtle art. From personalities to individual skills and expertise, there are a wide variety of factors you have to keep in mind in order to bring a group of people together that will be in the best position for success. Here are a few important roles to remember when building your team roster.

A strong leader
“Talent is important. But the single most important ingredient after you get the talent is internal leadership. It’s not the coaches as much as one single person or people on the team who set higher standards than that team would normally set for itself.”
– Mike Krzyzewski, Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Duke University

Every team needs a strong leader who is confident, consistent, and committed, and they also have to be able to instill those values in the team. No matter how talented the individual members of a team may be, strong leadership is imperative to keep everyone focused and moving toward achieving a common goal.

A big thinker
“Limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.”
– Michael Jordan, Legendary Former Professional Basketball Player for the Chicago Bulls

Some people are just wired to think big, question the status quo, and go against established norms. Teams that discourage this type of over-the-top thinking may be doing themselves a disservice. Many of the world’s most groundbreaking and innovative products and ideas were considered crazy in the beginning. Allowing room for wild imagination may create the jolt of inspiration your team needs to find innovative solutions that help achieve your goals.

A pragmatist
“When you understand yourself and those around you, you are better able to minimize weaknesses and maximize strengths.”
– Pat Summitt, Legendary Former Head Coach of University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers Basketball

The yin to the big thinker’s yang, every team also needs a pragmatist to provide an occasional reality check. Audacious goals are important, and the big thinker approach to problem-solving will lead to innovative solutions. However, a voice of reason is often necessary to put the realities of a lofty idea into perspective in order to ensure the team is heading down the best path toward success.

A stickler
“Coaches can talk and talk and talk about something, but if you get it on tape and show it to them, it is so much more effective.”
– Larry Bird, Legendary Former Professional Basketball Player for the Boston Celtics

From meeting deadlines and reaching milestones to organizing meetings and keeping notes, it helps to have a member of the team with a meticulous attention to detail. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of starting a new project, but at some point, you have to buckle down and start digging into the details.

A cheerleader
“Good teams become great ones when the members trust each other enough to surrender the ‘Me’ for the ‘We’”
– Phil Jackson, Former Professional Basketball Coach for the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers

Every team needs at least one “cheerleader” to help keep spirits high in the face of adversity. In the end, it’s important to remember that everyone’s in it together and when you work together, there’s no limit to what can be achieved.

Of course, one person could have several of these qualities. And some effective team members may not have any of them. The important thing is to build a diverse team with the right mix of personalities, expertise, and experience that gives you the best chance of success.

How do you approach building a successful team? What are some of the most important characteristics team members must have? Let us know in the comments section below.

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