A workplace is like a professional sports team. Before I go any further let me just say I’m being very serious. I know it may seem like I’m using a blog entry as an excuse to talk about sports (as I do love sports), but hear me out.

People are always using the phrase “team player” when referring to their most valuable employees – and, when you think about it, most companies do in fact resemble sports teams. The company president is the team manager. Supervisors and managers make up the coaching staff. And the employees are key in bringing it all together – they’re the major playmakers, akin to the athletes. Like a modern day Joe Mauer to the legendary Wayne Gretzky, great employees (or athletes) contribute
the positive attitude, proper work ethic and bounds of talent to help their team succeed. They’ll go about their business and do their job, yet are capable of stepping it up and leading when necessary. Any company president (or team manager) would be lucky to have them. And if your group, whether a manufacturing company, an agency or retailer, is fortunate enough to have these types of positive, talented and hardworking people, the company is much more likely to succeed.

Maybe it’s because I’m still feeling that “warm and fuzzy” and thankful feeling this time year. But all that aside, I’m very appreciative of wonderful co-workers and want to recognize how crucial both their talents and attitudes are to the success of our team.

On the flip side, I also want to point out how poisonous one non-team player can be. An employee can have an incredible amount of talent, but if they’re not willing to put in the work, go the extra mile and genuinely strive to do what’s best for the team, they don’t have a place in your organization.

Don’t agree? Think talent is supreme and personality, work ethic and attitude aren’t so important? Consider a couple fairly well-known examples: NHL bigmouth Sean Avery and NFL whiner Randy Moss. Both have had trouble sticking with a team – as soon as they step foot in the locker room, managers and teammates can’t wait to get rid of them. And this is not due to lack of talent – no one can argue that both of these guys are incredible athletes and have the ability to be big playmakers. However, most managers and coaches would rather not even deal with them. Childish antics, filter-free loudmouths and egos too big to even fit inside Madison Square Garden have made them both more of a liability than a commodity. They’re in it for themselves, not the team. When they’re unhappy, all effort goes right out the window. And just like that, talent becomes a moot point.

Just like on a sports team, it’s crucial to have real team players and good attitudes in any company. When you find the “Mauers” and “Gretzkys” hang onto them! I just hope you don’t have to offer them $184 million like the Twins did for Mauer…

Do you agree that attitude is as important as talent? How has your company managed to attract and keep your team’s “MVPs”?

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