In theory, a team player sounds great. In an ideal world, they work well with others, provide help and support on multiple projects and are all-around helpful people.
However, in a world that is more and more promoting the ideas of flexible and remote work, team players are lost in the mix. Without the ability to work independently, these “team players” are left high fiving themselves and laughing at their own “Happy Humpday” jokes every Wednesday.
Here is why NOT to hire a self-professed team player when writing your next job description.
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1. They Have a Bad History
You know who are great team players? Stormtroopers.
You know who else were really great team players? Nazis.
Okay, those are some pretty extreme examples, but you get where this is going…
Teams can work together to achieve good or they can work together to go in a completely different direction. Your “team players” may indoctrinate your other employees with their own notions. This “teamwork” could derail a project, quarterly goals or even your company culture on the whole!
2. They Are Too Needy
By definition, team players work more successfully alongside others. Due to that, they can become needy, annoying and distracting.
Your typical team player will likely catch you every time you head to the restroom in order to share a (lame) joke or anecdote about his weekend. If you are able to avoid the team player physically, you are still not safe. The team player may crowd your Slack channel with pictures and videos of cats, no matter how many times you’ve told him that you’re allergic.
In addition, a team player will need constant feedback and assignments. If the team player is left without a sufficient amount of interpersonal work, you are likely to find him pestering other employees for something to do.
3. They Constantly Give Unecessary Feedback
The team player is always looking to do something “for the team.”
Sometimes all this “Rah Rah Sis Boom Bah” is great for your team, but sometimes your team player will get hung up on fixing small details that don’t necessarily need fixing.
Team players, unable to sit still or calm their energy, will be constantly seeking attention and action. Sometimes, the self-sufficiency of an individual who can work quietly and alone is much more beneficial than a person who is constantly enlisting help with items of lesser importance.
4. They Give Good First Impressions
Again, what could be wrong with this?
A great team player knows how to win people over. They will likely perform well in an interview setting with a sparkling personality and ideas for days. However, once you set this team player loose, they can end up being a huge disruption to your team already in place.
Just Kidding (Kind of)
A team player is not as bad as a Ninja or a Rockstar. You will be unlikely to see ninja stars embedded into your walls or find your entire wine stash missing with a “Team Player” hire.
Just like any other hire, though, you will want to strike a balance. Try to steer clear of hiring that person who cannot be left alone for a minute. The perfect employee will be able to work with equal success whether with a team or on his own.