The 4 types of Team Players


The 4 types of Team Players. Which one are you?

Due March 27

Teamwork requires team players. Effective teamwork is based on an effective mix of people who exhibit a variety of styles or approaches to teamwork. Each member of a work team has a unique way of contributing to the organization’s overall goal. How do you know which type of team player you are? Today's discomfort challenge provokes you to identify your unique way of collaborating in a group setting.

Your assignment:

1. Read the description for the four different types of team players below.

  • Which of these descriptions best identifies your primary style as a team player?
  • Which one is your your least-active team player style?
  • Which descriptions best fit your team, the people you work closely with?
  • (Optional) Identify action steps to improve the functioning of your team.

Please answer these questions according to how you honestly feel you function now as a team member rather than how you used to be or how you would like to be.

2. After you are done with your reflections Share your learnings with the group here. Some prompts below for what you could share.

  • Which of these descriptions best identifies your primary style as a team player?
  • Which one is your your least-active team player style?
  • In which areas do you need to improve?

We encourage you to end your post with a call to action, an open ended check in asking members of the program so that they share their advice on a particular thing you are looking to learn more about following up this activity.

How do you know which type of player you are?

In the book Team Players and Teamwork: New Strategies for Developing Successful Collaboration, Parker proposes there are four different types of team players.

  1. The Contributor
  2. The Collaborator
  3. The Communicator
  4. The Challenger

A Contributor is a task-oriented team member who enjoys providing the team with good technical information and data, does his or her homework, and then pushes the team to set high performance standards and to use their resources wisely. Most people see the Contributor as dependable.

A Collaborator is a goal-directed member who sees the vision, mission, or goal of the team as paramount but is flexible and open to new ideas, is willing to pitch in and work outside his or her defined role, and is able to share the limelight with other team members. Most people see the Collaborator as a strategic, “big picture” person.

A Communicator is a process-oriented member who is an effective listener and facilitator of involvement, conflict resolution, consensus building, feedback, and the building of an informal, relaxed climate. Most people see the Communicator as a positive people person.  When conflicts arise in the storming stage, the Communicator can facilitate a resolution of the differences. Team members need to understand that it is OK to express divergent opinions.

A Challenger is a member who questions the goals, methods, and even the ethics of the team, is willing to disagree with the leader and others, and encourages the team to take well-conceived risks. Most people appreciate the value of the Challenger’s candor and openness.

Parker states that the most effective teams have a balance of team player styles. Your primary team player style defines a set of behaviors that you use most often as a member of a team. It does not mean that it is the only style you use. All of us have the capacity to use all of the four styles. We simply use one style—our primary style—most often.

The effective teams know that having balance does not mean equal use of all styles at all times. Balance means having the capability to use the various styles when required by the team. Team players are equally concerned with

  • completing their work in a high-quality manner
  • reaching their goals with a strong commitment
  • developing and maintaining a positive team climate
  • raising questions about the team’s goals and methods

For an effective team team, a few characteristics stand out:

  • Clear goals and a plan to achieve them
  • Positive relationships with and support from other parts of the organization
  • Excellent communication, openness, and trust among team members
  • A blend of people, each contributing a special talent

If you want to go one level deeper (optional)

Take The Parker Team Player Survey in the Team Players and Teamwork book . This is totally optional. It's totally up to you.

The Parker Team Player Survey that will help you identify your style as a team player. The results will lead you to an assessment of your current strengths and provide a basis for a plan to increase your effectiveness as a team player. Teams may use the survey to develop a profile of team strengths and to discuss strategies for increasing team effectiveness.

If you are interested in the survey, you can access it in the resource section at the end of Parker’s ebook Team Players and Teamwork (Get the Kindle).

RETHINK provides a certificate of completion at the end of the program only if you posted your weekly assignments and learnings here in the group.