One of the biggest hurdles that so many business owners face is creating a comprehensive and dynamic work culture within their business. They struggle with bringing together multiple personalities and experiences and perspectives to achieve a common goal. Throughout my experience as an NBA player and as a motivational speaker and business coach, I’ve learned that when I strive to be a better team player, I also see a radical improvement in myself as well. When I focus on these three things, I find that not only are the people around me are happier and more productive, but I am happier and more productive too:

A great teammate will respect the skills and strengths of others

Anyone who knows me well will tell you that I hand out compliments like they are running out of style. I’ll be the first to tell someone that their hair looks on point, their presentation was phenomenal, or that suit makes them look like a million bucks. I try to be intentional about pointing out people’s strengths and expressing gratitude for what they bring to the table. When I focus more on the strengths and skills of others, I am in a consistent state of gratitude and appreciation.

I am very aware that without the strengths and skills of the people around me, I would not be where I am today. It takes a dedicated team with a variety of strengths and specialized skill sets to make our team run smoothly. I am surrounded by people who can do specific tasks ten times better than I can, and instead of letting that make me feel insecure or inferior, I showcase those strengths and those skills and express my gratitude for them. A great teammate will respect the skills and strengths of others

A great teammate will must respect perspective

Chances are, your company is made up of a lot of different people from a lot of different places with a lot of different experiences and areas of expertise. There is beauty and power in this. Business leaders who embrace the diversity and differences of perspectives within their workplace open themselves up for innovation, creativity, and success. One of the most dangerous things that can be said in a workplace is “we’ve always done it this way.” If you are not open to understanding or hearing the perspective of others, you are limiting yourself and the potential growth of your company. As a teammate, when you are intentional about respecting the perspective of others, the result is that your world perspective changes. Your mind is opened a little bit further to accept information and ideas that may not have come naturally to you. Not everyone is going to agree, but being open to hearing the ideas and feedback of others is key to being a good teammate, a good leader, and a more well-rounded individual. 


The key to any successful relationship is trust. If you do not have trust, your marriage won’t work, your friendships won’t work, and your professional relationships won’t work. On the court, I had to have 100% trust that my teammates would be where they were supposed to be when they were supposed to be there so we could make the shot. In business, I’ve learned that customers want to do business with a company they can trust. When the people around you feel like they can trust you, they are more likely to come to you with problems, ideas, or feedback. When it comes to self-improvement, you also have to learn to trust yourself. You have to have confidence that you can do the hard things. You have to go with your gut. You have to follow your intuition but also be willing to take guidance from those around you. Self-improvement happens when you learn to trust in yourself.

The Takeaway

Working to be a better team player consistently is a win-win all around. Not only do you strengthen the culture of your company, but you work on the fundamentals of your character and work ethic that make you a better leader, a better employee, a better entrepreneur, and a better person. If you are like us and taking self-improvement seriously this month, the first step in building yourself up and your legacy up is by building others up first.

My challenge for you this week: Ask yourself how you can be a better team player. Check out our teamwork resources to find out what simple steps you can start implementing now to build a stronger and more productive team.