Safe Systems President Darren Bridges always has the best suggestions for professional development resources, so we decided to introduce “Darren’s Corner” so that everyone can benefit!

Featured Book for October/November:

“The Ideal Team Player” by Patrick Lencioni

“The Ideal Team Player” by Patrick Lencioni This book introduces three virtues you should look for when hiring. They are humility, hunger, and smarts (in this context, emotional intelligence). Problems can arise when an employee lacks one or two of these essential qualities, but fortunately they can often be taught if only one trait is missing.


One of the three traits Patrick identifies as essential for a good team player is humility. This trait makes someone a great team player because they lack excessive ego or a need to be recognized for every accomplishment. However, as a standalone trait, it can also create someone who becomes a “pawn” in a group setting.


The second trait Patrick identifies as essential for a good team player in “The Ideal Team Player” is hunger. Hungry people never have to be pushed by a manager to work harder as they are self-motivated and diligent. However, people who are hungry but not humble or emotionally intelligent can become obsessed with bettering their own standing at the expense of the team.


The final trait Patrick Lencioni identifies as an essential quality of an ideal team player is smarts. In this context, smarts refers to a person’s common sense about people. Smart people can read a room and have good intuition. However, this also gives them the ability to be manipulative. The Ideal Team Player - Venn Diagram This is the venn diagram of traits Patrick Lencioni uses to illustrate his point about the three essential traits of an ideal team player. Darren notes that, if he has to pick someone with only two traits, he prefers humble and hungry. While this person may accidentally put their foot in their mouth sometimes, they can often improve their emotional intelligence. Next, we’ll discuss the interview questions Darren asks to uncover each trait!

Interviewing Tips

Darren has a few tips for how he uncovers each trait when interviewing candidates. Let’s start with humility. Darren suggests asking questions that give the candidate the opportunity to admit imperfection. You can spot those who don’t do that very well. One example is “What is your biggest weakness?” Darren says that the traits candidates most frequently lack is hunger, which is hard to teach. One question he asks is, “What is the hardest thing you’ve ever worked on in your life?” If the candidate can’t give a specific example, it’s a red flag. When trying to see if a candidate has “Smarts” (emotional intelligence), Darren likes to ask about their role on a team or what annoys them about team members. If they take the opportunity to unload everything their coworkers have ever done wrong, they lack smarts. For a full summary of The Ideal Team Player, download the PDF.
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