#Four Qualities of a Great Teammate #Agile #Team

I was listening to 1290 Sports Radio earlier this week on the way to work like I always do and they mentioned something interesting. San Jose Shark’s General Manager Doug Wilson was mentioning the traits outside of Hockey that they look at to try to determine whether the person would be a good team-mate. I searched for an article that would provide a complete list of their qualities, but I could not find it. Regardless, it is a great discussion to propose those qualities that are perhaps less apparent, but can have a great impact on the probability of a team’s success.

Four Qualities

1) Student of the Game – Obligation to Learn

Great team mates are driven to continue to learn. In fact, they feel they have a deep obligation to learn. Most of them find a lot of their pleasure comes from learning new things. If you got them to do the same thing over and over they would probably quit and find something new to do.

2) Internal need to Collaborate – Need to have Feedback 

Not only does the person have an obligation to learn, but they also have an internal need to seek out and accept advice from others. Many people will do this when required, but it is rarer to find people who truly enjoy getting feedback and will seek feedback out all the time.

3) Driven to Mentor and give back – Obligation to Teach

Great team mates also recognize the other side of the continuous learning coin. They recognize that they have an obligation to mentor and coach team mates just like they were coached and mentored early in their careers. Many of these people also take great enjoyment from teaching others.

4) Take problem ownership personally – Requirement to Resolve

Great team mates never think it is someone else’s problem. I can’t stress this one enough. They never think it is someone else’s problem. Now that doesn’t mean they think it is their problem alone to resolve, but they never think they have no part of play in the resolution. You never get an “I don’t know” it is always “I don’t know yet” answer. 🙂


What do all of these qualities have in common? They all require the individual to commit time and effort to items beyond themselves. In short, they are collaborating on items that benefits others as much as themselves.


Author: Terry Bunio

Terry Bunio is passionate about his work as the Manager of the Project Management Office at the University of Manitoba. Terry oversees the governance on Information Technology projects to make sure the most important projects are being worked on in a consistent and effective way. Terry also provides leadership on the customized Project Methodology that is followed. The Project Methodology is a equal mix of Prince2, Agile, Traditional, and Business Value. Terry strives to bring Brutal Visibility, Eliminating Information islands, Right Sizing Documentation, Promoting Collaboration and Role-Based Non-Consensus, and short Feedback Loops to Minimize Inventory to the Agile Project Management Office. As a fan of pragmatic Agile, Terry always tries to determine if we can deliver value as soon as possible through iterations. As a practical Project Manager, Terry is known to challenge assumptions and strive to strike the balance between the theoretical and real world approaches for both Traditional and Agile approaches. Terry is a fan of AWE (Agile With Estimates), the Green Bay Packers, Winnipeg Jets, and asking why?

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