John Maxwell’s The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player

Table of Content

What the Book is All About

            With all the demands of today’s business organizations, working together with teams is very important. There are people, however, who are not very successful in working with teams. Maxwell addresses the need of individuals and professionals to become an effective member of a team. For some people, working with a team may come naturally, but for people who find it difficult to do so, he provides several tips and presents the qualities of successful team players.

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            The qualities that Maxwell presents include being adaptable. A team member should learn how to be teachable, be emotionally secure and always thinking about how to offer services to the team and to others. A team player also has to be collaborative and think of how to cooperate with the rest of the teams even if there would be some disagreements. The members of the team should also display commitment to the vision, the values and to working together[1].

            Effective communication is also an important component of working with a team. This can help manage expectations better and resolve issues that may develop within the team. Being competent is another important quality. A team member should not drag the team down but should enhance the overall performance. With competence, the team member can also become dependable. This way, a team member may be trusted to execute difficult tasks. A team member should be disciplined. This can be exhibited in the thoughts, emotions and actions of the team member. The team member should also learn how to enlarge others so that the overall performance of the team could be enhanced.

Being enthusiastic also helps the team a lot as this shows the motivation and good spirit of the individual and the whole team. As an intentional team player, the purpose of the team is always kept in mind and followed. Mission conscious team players can help the team streamline its focus and dedicate energy towards what truly matters for the team.

Team members should always be prepared. This is a culmination of other qualities because preparedness really makes the difference between losing and winning in various situations. A team member will always be in contact with team mates. As such, being relational is very important. This means that there is trust, mutual enjoyment and respect among team members. As the team works together, a team member is expected to be self-improving. With this trait, the improvement will not benefit the member only but the whole team[2].

Selflessness will help the team avoid internal politics and cultivate a sense of interdependence instead of mere independence. By being solution-oriented, a team member will become less of a critic and more of a problem solver for the team. Lastly, a team player understands and practices the importance of tenacity. He perseveres even if he finds difficulties along the way. Maxwell understood the importance of being with a team and that is the reason why he gave a lot of advice on how to develop these qualities if one is lacking in any of these.


            As I read this book from Maxwell, I remember my own journey as a member of a team. In one of our mission work in the church, we formed several teams to deal with different tasks. I was put into the marketing and promotional team so we can get more volunteers and make our beneficiaries aware of how they can benefit from the program.

            We were all excited with the task given us. Except with one of the team members who happened to see all the difficulties and pointed out the flaws in the programs we were trying to come up with. If we presented some invitational gimmicks that we thought would work great with the members of the community that we will be serving with, he replies with shrugs, frowns and outright criticism of what could go wrong. Not long after, the team started to be demoralized and we were running out of ideas.

            The problem is that whenever we asked him what he thought would work in the community, he would not be able to present something that could work given our resources and time available. He even expected the rest of the team to come up with the solutions. That was when one of the team members—the one we designated as team captain talked to our team mate and explained the dilemma of the team. After that, he made a definite effort to keep quiet if he does not have a solid suggestion to make and even struggled to be solution-oriented. At least, we all agreed that he was teachable and willing to compromise with the rest of the team to achieve our goals for the mission work.


            Maxwell’s style of writing can be seen in this book. His approach is to provide the qualities of an effective team player, then enumerate several stories to elucidate his point. These stories help the reader understand his points better but I was wondering that he could have made it better by providing some discussion questions that the reader could answer by himself to assess his performance in the quality that he is presenting.

            If he did this, he is not only presenting the abstract concepts but he is making it possible for the reader to engage in introspection and start thinking about how he can improve his character as a team player. These 17 qualities may not be present in the life of any given individual. How can a person ever hope to display all of these qualities of an effective team player? One possible effect of this is that a team player may feel that it would be impossible to display all of these qualities and instead just go about the usual way he relates with his team and his team mates.

Another question I had while reading this book is more of the how to help team mates in instilling and developing these qualities. These qualities are good in themselves but the process of team work in displaying all of these seems to have been missing in Maxwell’s book. Training and team building is an important part of the process. Moreover, the role of the leader has not been very much emphasized in the book. The leader is one of the important factors in cementing together a team and helping team members develop these qualities.

Action Plan

Mobilizing for action is necessary if I were to become an effective team player in my work and in my daily life. The tips and lessons that Maxwell offers in his books are noteworthy and should be followed if they were to make a difference in my life. I am thinking of several actions I can do. Some of them are simple enough while others will require commitment and humility from me.

Assess my qualities as a team player. With all seventeen qualities presented by Maxwell, I will develop a score sheet that can help me determine my level of being an effective team player. I can list down my strengths and weaknesses at each quality that the author discussed. List down concrete items for action for each quality. Based on the strengths and weaknesses I have listed, I will put doable actions on each quality so that I can start developing these qualities for the benefit of my team and my work. Ask a friend or a colleague to be my accountability partner with my journey. He can be my team leader or a fellow teammate as long as he can help keep me on track with my journey to becoming a better team player. Reward my simple successes. As I display any of the qualities of a team player, I can reward myself with some things that I really love. Food, some goodies or anything that could motivate me in working for the improvements in my life. With these strategies, I know that before long, I will be able to display better behavior and qualities as a team player.


John Maxwell, The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player: Becoming the Kind of Person Every Team Wants. New York: Thomas Nelson, 2002.

[1] John Maxwell, The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player: Becoming the Kind of Person Every Team Wants. New York: Thomas Nelson, 2002. p 13.
[2] Ibid, page 109.

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John Maxwell’s The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player. (2016, Nov 02). Retrieved from

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