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What to Look for in an Agile Team Player

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What does “agile” mean? When it comes to your staff, it means having a team that is innovative, productive, and flexible enough to adapt to the changing demands of your industry. Agile team players have a drive for constant improvement that will carry your business through tough and turbulent times. 

There is no doubt that agile is in vogue – in fact, 94 percent of executives agree that agility is a critical component in competing in today’s business environment. Yet creating an agile team is easier said than done. Here are a few things to look for in your hunt for agile team players.

High Emotional Quotient

The word “agile” came to fruition in 2001 and traditionally refers to software development. It applies to a collection of methodologies dealing with close collaboration, self-organizing teams, and business efficiency. Most companies are still struggling to become agile – mostly for lack of knowing how to recruit the right people. Agile team players need to check their egos at the door, forget individual needs, and evolve and self-organize to keep up with changing tides.

High emotional quotient (EQ) is an excellent starting point in finding agile team players. EQ, also called emotional intelligence, is the capacity of an individual to recognize emotions – their own and those of others. EQ also describes the ability to use emotional information to guide thoughts, actions, and behaviors. Look for high EQ in candidates to make sure your team will consist of members who are empathetic, adaptable, and able to navigate the social environment.


People Skills

Social smarts are important traits in agile team members. The modern business world might facilitate remote workers more than ever, but this shouldn’t take away from a teammate’s ability to collaborate with others. Social skills can help inter-business relationships thrive, encouraging teamwork and communication among employees. Look for recruits with common sense, people skills, and the ability to get along with others for a flawless fit.

Searching for social skills can be difficult, but the interview process can help. Seeing how the individual interacts with you and with others can help you gauge his or her social abilities. Social skills and EQ go hand in hand. Generally, those with people skills also have high EQ. They understand what others are thinking and feeling, and can change their methods based on social cues they pick up in a particular situation. Agile members understand team dynamics and can tactfully address problems to encourage greater productivity.

Humility

Nothing says team player like someone willing to set aside his or her pride for the good of the team and the company. Humility is a necessary trait in true team players. Otherwise, you could find yourself in a conundrum with a team member who would rather make him/herself look good than help the greater good. Humility describes being more interested in others than in yourself. Humble team members always put the company’s best interests above their own. They are completely committed to team goals and define success collectively, not individually.

Humility does not mean letting other team members step on or use the individual. Agile team members cannot only be humble, just as they cannot only be smart or only driven. They must be all three to truly be agile. Humility and humbleness should come with a caveat in situations that demand strength and self-preservation. Otherwise, humble team members can become just pawns in more aggressive team members’ games. Ideal team members are blends of humility and confidence.

Drive to Be Better

Top-performing team members are always pushing themselves to be better and to do better. They go outside of their comfort zones and push the limits to become better versions of the themselves. This self-motivation is key in agile team members. The hunger to want more for the business is integral for long-term success within the company. Agile team members don’t settle for anything less than optimal performance. They are always seeking to learn more, take on more responsibilities, and contribute more to the success of the brand.

The drive to be better comes with a willingness to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Driven members will hold others accountable for their actions and take on difficult conversations if that’s what it takes to improve the company. They don’t let anything stand in the way of improvement. Agile employees are always willing to put in a bit more effort if it will make the difference between failure and success. They’re always thinking about new ways to achieve better results.

Desire for Collaboration

The shift toward agile aims to fix common project problems such as being over budget or failing to meet business requirements. To achieve the goal of a project that doesn’t experience these roadblocks, all team members must be able to collaborate with one another. Agile teams are all about collaboration and communication. Otherwise, the team will fall prey to harmful communication lapses, wasted time, and serious errors. Daily teamwork, brainstorming, and problem solving are integral to the health and success of the whole team.

Your agile team needs to be willing and enthusiastic about working as part of a bigger group – a piece of the whole. Problem solving is a group activity. It requires teams of people who all want to discuss ideas with one another, take constructive criticism, and make sacrifices for the benefit of the team. Teammates shouldn’t have any qualms about asking for help, self-motivating, and collaborating with others to meet a common goal.

Build Your Agile Team and Reap Immediate Benefits

Agile is how you get the most from your workforce, while streamlining workflow and boosting productivity. It is a company’s ability to respond to change and beat the competition in a turbulent and ever-changing environment. Agile will give your organization speed, but only if your team evolves and self-organizes.


To achieve agility that truly benefits your business, you need team players. Use these tips to form a team that will get the job done right, each and every time.

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