I like to boil things down to the big 4 elements of what to look for in a teammate which are: Passion, Commitment, Attitude, and Ability. Once you have had an opportunity to look at these 4 factors and prioritize them in importance, you will be well on your way to building a dynamic team which will be a force to recon with!

Before dissecting each element, I want to come right out of the gates and address the Ability factor. More often than not, many teams often only look at who is the best or has the highest level of skills or ability and places this one factor way above the importance of other elements. If not carefully examined, this can quickly become the destruction of a team early on. It is as if groups and teams are developed just like they would be formed on a play ground when we were kids. Two students (captains) would pick teams for some sort of ball game, and the kids who had the most talent or most popular were picked first followed by in sequential order to the kids who had the least talent or were not considered popular. There would be little or no value placed on attitudes, commitment, or passion towards the activity itself.

Determining what the end goal, mission statement, or performance goals has a bearing on who you are looking for in a teammate. Ability, knowledge, and expertise is and can be valuable and necessary for leadership, but should not be an end all, be all for everyone who you want to be on your team or project. Having people with differing skills and talents from different backgrounds and experience which will result in a better end product. If everyone is the same or is thinking the same, then no one is thinking outside the proverbial box.

Many teams have started and developed this way only to have failed miserably because of the groups inability to function cohesively towards a common goal.

So what should you look for in a teammate (The Big 4)


You want people who are passionate and enthusiastic about the proposed project, concept, or end goal. Passion is the number on key component to grow and expand which is often considered the octane or gasoline of an engine which will keep things running when things get rough through the Storming phase in team/group dynamics. Without passion, you have nothing but a group of individuals who may just plod along because it is their job or role within the team or work environment. Little motivation for the project or team, or potentially fall way short of your intended goals.

Passion is a feeling of excitement which you can feel from someone who loves to surf and loves to talk about surfing. Passion is someone who is happy to be part of something bigger than themselves. Passion is a look in someones eyes when they are excited about something. Passion is an undeniable emotion stemming from within someones soul.

Characteristics of Passion

1. Energetic and expressive
2. Ability to learn and adapt
3. Focused individuals
4. Love what they are engaged in
5. Productive
6. Willing to take risks
7. Strong willed
8. Thinks outside the box
9. Skilled and adaptive
10. Loves to learn


Picking team members with a positive attitude is crucial to the overall success of the team. You will want to surround yourself with people who have a 'can do' attitude, people who give off positive energy, people you can talk to and have the ability to work together through difficult times or problems as they arise.

People with good attitudes tend to say 'good morning' with a smile on their face when you great them. People with good attitude are ones who you want to go out with after a day of work. People with good attitudes treat everyone with the same amount of love and respect. People with positive attitudes exude an energy that you want to be around. Positive attitudes can make difficult situations manageable.

Characteristics of Positive Attitudes

1. Seeing the positive in others
2. Speaking only kind words about others
3. Being a positive energy when others around are down
4. Being happy for other peoples successes
5. Laughter
6. Paying a compliment
7. The ability to come back from an adverse event
8. Giving of yourself, rather than doing something for a reward.
9. Avoiding others negativity.
10. Accepting the things you can not change


You may be asking yourself, 'why are there two number #2's listed here'? Both attitude and commitment are of, and of such equal importance, that one is not more important than the other. It would be like having green eggs without the ham, the peanut butter without the jelly, or Ben without Jerry. If you find someone with a great personality, but is not a person of their word, things just won't work out; or if you have someone who is always there on time, but are a pain in the butt to be around, things just won't work out.

People who are committed are on time, people who are committed will stay late until everything is complete, people who are committed will give 100%, people who are committed will always place the goal(s) of the team/group above their own.

Characteristics of Commitment

1. People who are on time
2. People who can see the accomplishment of their goal before arriving there
3. People who have a vested interest in the goal through their Time, Treasure, or Talents
4. Committed people view mistakes as learning opportunities.
5. Committed people have passion!
6. People who honor their own word


As discussed above, ability has a factor in the overall success, but it should not be the ultimate deciding factor when putting together your team. Many large companies and organizations choose to actually hire people within their field if they have the right attitudes and commitment as most people can be taught to do anything (ability). All you have to do is to walk into a Starbucks Coffee house, and I am pretty sure that 99% of everyone who works their was never a Barista before applying for a job their, and Starbucks has this uncanny ability to create a culture where all their staff members are happy, committed, and have a level of passion on the inside.

When looking at ability, I am not suggesting that you pick up any Tom, Dick, or Harry just because they are nice people. You will use your best discretion in teaming up with people who have a certain level of skill who have the potential to reach the desired goal(s); yet, remember the word 'potential' as they do not have to have the highest of all skills right off the bat.

I have literally coached hundreds of teams and thousands of individuals in the sport of skydiving, and 99.9% of the time, the people who have passion, who are committed, with a positive attitude will always succeed over people who have naturally ability and are mere flashes in the proverbial pan.

S5 Box