Essentials of a Healthy Team, Part 3

Two weeks ago, we started a journey of looking at three essentials of a heathy team. The first two were respect and honesty. Today we look at the final principle: humility.

Ego-driven anything does not work well or last long. When egos within a team are competing for power and recognition, the team is unhealthy and unable to accomplish much. Such a team is comprised of persons looking out for their own interests.

Paul gives us a picture of true humility in Philippians 2:3-4. “3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

C.S. Lewis said: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but rather thinking about yourself less.” Simply put, humble leaders recognize and value the contributions of others in lieu of self-promotion.

What are the signs that humility is present and at work within a team?

Openness to learning. The humble person believes they can learn something from the people in their lives. Ego driven people think they know it all and they are the ones who have what others need. They think they can always help others, but don’t believe others have much to offer them. This is especially true of ego-driven leaders.

The attitude of humility within a team is one where members are always asking questions to learn more. They recognize their limitations and the strengths each one brings to the team.

When a team member humbly admits that they don’t have all the answers, they create space for others to step forward and offer solutions. This is possible only when they are open to learning.

Team members engage in dialogue not debate.  Debate is usually focused on swaying the other side to accept your side with the intention that you will be declared the winner. Debate is about providing validation for your point of view. This kind of dialogue rarely results in much learning.

Dialogue on the other hand is to truly engage with different points of view. This requires good listening skills, asking good questions and thinking less of your own point of view so you can fully engage with the other viewpoints.  Dialogue is often short-circuited when our ego kicks in. Humility is required for genuine dialogue.

When team members are humble enough to suspend their own agendas and beliefs, they not only enhance their own learning, they also validate the unique perspectives of the other members of the team.

Team members share their mistakes as teachable moments. It takes humility to share your mistakes. Most of us like sharing our successes but are reluctant to share our mistakes. However, for a team to be healthy, members must be able to embrace and share their mistakes as they do their successes.

In a healthy team, members will be encouraged to showcase their personal growth by admitting to their own imperfections and identifying what they have learned from it.

Owning and sharing one’s imperfections within the team is not only good for the individual who is sharing it, but sometimes it is also good for the growth of other members of the team.

When mistakes are seen as part of the growth and development opportunities for the team, team members will take personal risk for the greater good of the team. Because they know that if they fail they will be picked back up by the team.

Teams can and should be healthy to work in. But creating a healthy team requires intentionality. Respect, honesty and humility all require intentionality; they must be clearly stated and, more importantly, practiced on a daily basis.

Let me encourage you to become proactive in creating a healthy team by making these principles a part of how your team operates.

If you would like help in achieving your goals as a leader or in any area of your life, call us at 208-880-0307 or email us at to schedule a complimentary coaching session. To read Errol’s other posts, visit Christ-Centered Life Coaching.