In a company, there are the star performers whose achievements rightfully earn a lion’s share of the attention. Equally as often, though, there are others outside the spotlight whose commitment and talent quietly make the star’s success possible. They’re rarely compensated at the same level, and can easily be overlooked by management, but these people are every bit as valuable in the long run to the company. They’re the team players.
Take basketball legend Shane Battier, for example. He’s the ultimate team player, recognized as the “No Stats All-Star,” and for one simple reason: Every team he plays on somehow wins more when he’s around.
The No-Stat All-Star
Battier, who retired from play in 2014 after 13 years on the pros, found his niche early on. “I was the tallest kid in my grade always. I was the only minority in a very suburban white-bread part of town,” he recalls in his video for Big Think+, “Beat the Competition: Be A Team Player.” “And in first grade,” he says, “all you want to do is fit in with everybody else. Well, there’s one place I always fit in and that was on the kickball field, basketball court, the baseball field… I realized that when I won and I helped my team win, guess what? People liked me and I was able to fit into social groups.”
Battier admits there’s always a certain tension between “what’s good for the team and what’s good for the individual,” but his career isn’t built on scoring points for himself — it’s built on helping everyone else on the team look good. He tells the PalmBeachPost, “I’m secure in who I am. I know my strengths, I know my weaknesses and I don’t get uptight by people calling me unathletic or marginal. What I lack in physical skills I think I make up more in intellectual capability and my ability to ‘think’ the basketball game. I can’t run as fast as LeBron and jump as high.”
This selfless attitude makes a real difference. New York Times describes what Battier brings to a team in nearly mystical terms:
Battier’s game is a weird combination of obvious weaknesses and nearly invisible strengths. When he is on the court, his teammates get better, often a lot better, and his opponents get worse — often a lot worse.
To Battier, the team’s glory is his glory. Anyway, as he puts it, “When you’re part of a championship team no one asks you, ‘How many points did you score in game seven of the finals?’ They ask you, ‘Hey, let me see your championship ring.’”
The Battier in your business
Savvy managers cherish employees like Battier for the genuine value they bring to a company. After all, when the star performer gos out into the world and makes commitments on behalf of the company, it’s the less-visible team players like Battier who quietly, reliably honor them.
For individuals, Battier’s example is inspiring for anyone looking to make a meaningful contribution to their company’s success. He says that if you have a “truly pure heart, and you have a spirit of sacrifice and ownership, and you have a growth mindset, and you have professionalism, and you have a hunger game mentality, and you’re pure about it, you’ll be recognized.”
It may take time to be noticed, it’s true, but, he adds, “Whatever group you’re part of, if you can have a pure spirit and be able to sacrifice glory, the opportunity, your time, your energy for the sake of the group, you’ll always be valuable.”