Above & Beyond

Above & Beyond
Issue 12 // 4th Quarter // 2015 Category:Development By: Jon Gordon

The difference between a team with talent and a team with character

If you asked 100 people how important character is to build a great team, I bet at least 95 would say it’s essential. After all, you can be the greatest leader or coach on the planet, but if your team lacks character, you will fail to reach your potential.

Yet, so often leaders and coaches attempt to build a team and organization by focusing on talent instead of character, and this leads to challenging situations. We see it all the time in business and sports. A talented individual with character flaws makes a bad decision that affects the entire team and organization.

That’s why, when building a team, you want to build it with both talent and character. Don’t just settle for talent. Talent without character is like a race car with no steering wheel. It looks great from the outside, and drives fast but without something guiding it, a crash is very likely.

Talent isn’t enough. Talent doesn’t last. It will only take you so far. Talent without character is also like an expensive car with no gas. It’s useless without the fuel that drives it. Character drives talent toward greatness. If you have a person who is humble, hungry, hard working, honest, dedicated, selfless, loyal, passionate, and accountable, they will be the kind of person who develops their talent and makes the right decisions to benefit themselves and the team. Character guides and drives your team members to be their best and bring out the best in others.

The best leaders and organizations recruit high character people and continue to develop the character of their team members. They know that character education doesn’t end with character initiatives in elementary school. When you watch the news, you realize that character education and reminders are something we can all use. We can all continue to work on becoming the best version of ourselves.

When I wrote The Hard Hat and interviewed George Boiardi’s teammates, I was fascinated by this young man who influenced everyone in such a powerful way by the way he lived and treated others. As I learned more about him, I realized his character had influenced mine and made me a better teammate. I identified 21 ways he was a great teammate, and when you read them you’ll notice they all point to his character. I encourage you to pick three you want to focus on and implement them one at a time. I’m a better person because of George and I know you will be too. To read more about George and his story, check out The Hard Hat. All my royalties go to his foundation. 

21 Ways to be a Great Teammate

1. Sweat more

2. Remember: well done is better than well said

3. Choose to be humble and hungry

4. Pursue excellence

5. Share a positive, contagious energy

6. Don't complain

7. Do it for your team, not for applause

8. Show you are committed

9. Never take a play off

10. Hold yourself and your team accountable

11. Treat everyone with respect and expect everyone to do the same

12. Give all and take nothing

13. Communicate

14. Connect

15. Become a "come with me" teammate

16. Practice selfless compassion

17. Show you care

18. Be a loyal friend

19. Love your team

20. Sacrifice

21. Leave the place better than you found it

Jon Gordon

By: Jon Gordon

Jon Gordon's is the international bestselling author of multiple books including The Energy Bus and his latest release, The Carpenter: A Story About the Greatest Success Strategies of All, which is available now where books are sold and online at www.Carpenter11.com. Connect with Jon on Twitter @jongordon11 and Facebook.

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