I have heard it said that humility is the basis for all other virtues because humility is how we see ourselves. Good teammates practice humility. They see themselves as subordinate to their team.
Good teammates commit to being governed by the premise that they will never be bigger than their team. No matter how much individual success they achieve, good teammates refuse to view themselves as being more important than the team. Their understanding and acceptance of this premise defines them.
Humility is what allows the head coach to grab a broom and sweep the gym floor. Humility is what permits the company’s CEO to refill the copier. Humility is what allows us to assess our talents and be receptive to using them to help our team.
Of the many good teammate virtues that stem from humility, prudence may be my favorite.
Prudence is not a common word, nor is it a word most people use to describe good teammates. But maybe it should be. Prudence is the ability to discipline oneself through one’s knowledge. In layman’s terms, prudence is making sound decisions based on what you know to be true.
We often see the word prudence associated with frugality or conservative business practice. In sports, prudence is sometimes used to explain conservative coaching decisions, like football coaches who opt to punt the ball instead of going for it on fourth and short.
Because prudence is at times associated with playing it safe, the term receives an undeserved stigma. Prudence isn’t limited to conservatism. Prudence is being knowledgeable and being willing to act on that knowledge.
Good teammates can be conservative, but they can also be risk takers. The aspect of prudence that applies to good teammates is that their judgment is based on knowledge. In this instance, that knowledge being that they, as individuals, are never more important than their team.
When good teammates take risks, they weigh the consequences. They consider the possible benefit or damage that their decision will have on their team and they act accordingly. They don’t consider the possible benefit or damage their decision will have on them as an individual.
Good teammates don’t seek individual glory; they seek team success.
Why? Because they practice humility. They believe that their individual accolades are the byproducts of their commitment to serving the needs of their team.
Arrogance is the result of seeing yourself as greater than you are. Arrogant teammates can never be good teammates because their motives will never fully align with the team’s agenda. If you want to ward off arrogance, start exercising prudence.
When prudence drives your decisions, team success will inevitably follow.
As always…Good teammates care. Good teammates share. Good teammates listen. Go be a good teammate.