During the Q&A portion of a recent webinar I conducted, a participant asked me what one word I felt best describes good teammates. The question proved surprisingly difficult for me to answer.
Good teammates possess so many positive attributes that it’s hard to describe them with a single word. Good teammates are enthusiastic, committed, loyal, faithful, etc. How could I pick just one without discounting the significance of all the others? I felt obligated to provide an answer though, so I said love.
I briefly explained that good teammates’ actions are often motivated by love—love for their team, love for their teammates, and love for the process. Good teammates have love in their hearts. Love seemed like an acceptable response, or at least it did at the time.
After the webinar ended, I started to reflect on my response. Something about it didn’t sit well with me. Love is one of those rare words in the English language that can be both a noun and a verb.
Good teammates do have love in their hearts and love is often the motivation behind their actions. But good teammates don’t love every aspect of being a good teammate. They don’t love having to sacrifice. They don’t love having to hold others accountable. They don’t love having to confront toxicity. They don’t love having to temper their words.
They do those things out of love, but they don’t necessarily love doing them. Was love the best choice for my “one word” to describe good teammates?
I obsessed over that question all weekend. Sunday morning, I went for a walk along the beach. I like to walk on the beach. I like the feel of the sand on my feet, the smell of the salty air, and the sounds of the seagulls. My favorite part, however, is the waves. I like to watch the waves when I walk on the beach.
The waves never stop. They just keep coming. Sure, their height and intensity vary with the tides, but the waves never stop. They don’t take any breaks. They keep coming, one right after the other, 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. The waves are relentless.
As I watched the waves this weekend, I realized that there is a better word than love to describe good teammates—relentless.
Good teammates are relentless. Their enthusiasm is relentless. Their commitment is relentless. Their loyalty is relentless. Even their effort is relentless. They never stop trying to be a good teammate.
The positive attributes of good teammates don’t take any breaks. Good teammates are always kind, faithful, hardworking, and so on. Their positive attributes and their actions are constant.
Bad teammates rarely exhibit this level of relentlessness. Their actions tend to fluctuate with their team’s success. When their team is doing well, they’re committed. They treat others kindly and project confidence.
But when their team struggles, their faith wanes. They mistreat others and project apathy. This is never the case with good teammates. Good teammates are defined by their relentlessness. Like the ocean’s waves, they just keep coming.
As always…Good teammates care. Good teammates share. Good teammates listen. Go be a good teammate.
One More Thing…