Unlocking Potential: Embracing the Role of the Playmaker

By Neil Turnham

In this final article of our series exploring the GC Index proclivities, today we look at the characteristics of the Playmaker. In the dynamic world of teams and organizations, individuals often assume distinct roles that contribute to collective success. Among these roles, people with a strong affinity, engagement and Playmaker energy emerge as a powerful force; they tend to be driven by the innate ability to get the best from others individually and collectively in support of agreed goals. The Playmaker’s ‘role’ is guided by a set of values, beliefs, behaviors and internal and external drivers that shape their leadership style.

At the core of the Playmaker’s philosophy lies the belief that good relationships are the foundation for meeting collective needs and indeed the basis for success. It is fundamentally about the ‘we’ rather than the ‘me’. Their internal dialogue constantly echoes the mantra: “I must make sure I give in order to get.” This ethos stems from a deep-seated desire to extract the best from others, recognizing the potential for greater achievements through collaboration and shared objectives. The Playmaker’s internal drivers include a keen understanding that together, the team can achieve more, valuing everyone’s unique contributions and fostering a belief in equality. It is important to note, though, that Playmaker is not about a certain personality type, i.e., ‘the life and soul of the party’ type person. It’s also not about whether a person is an effective manager or not; it is simply highlighting the characteristics of someone who prefers (and indeed makes) their own impact, through others.

This means that the Playmaker’s behaviors are distinctive and often quite visible; they focus on investing in building relationships, understanding that trust and community are the bedrock of a cohesive team. The Playmaker finds their highest energy levels when they are part of a unified team, working collaboratively towards shared objectives and feeling connected to a purpose larger than themselves. Conversely, their enthusiasm wanes when they don’t feel heard or are unable to influence, especially when team members prefer individual pursuits over collective goals.

In terms of communication, the Playmaker excels in listening, providing colleagues with the space to ‘find their voice.’ Their questions are not just inquiries but tools that stimulate constructive conversations and debates. Their communication style seeks to build cohesion in the team, emphasizing the importance of shared endeavor over mere consensus.

It might now be seen as a bit ‘old school’ anyway, but Playmakers defy the conventional ‘command-and-control’ approach to leadership and management. Their distinctive style involves facilitating productive debates, seeking consensus on critical decisions and avoiding the pitfalls of allowing consensus to compromise the quality of outcomes. Their leadership is marked by a collaborative mindset and inclusivity, aiming to develop a collective view rather than imposing their individual opinions.

Although, from these features, strong Playmakers sound like the ideal person to have on the team, even they have areas for improvement! Developing people skills is a constant endeavor; standing back to understand key individuals, recognizing the times for assertiveness, and honing conflict management skills are also crucial. The Playmaker is encouraged to understand their influence and incorporate this awareness into their approach with colleagues and partners, for optimal results.

In the grand orchestration of teams, the Playmaker emerges as the conductor, skillfully harmonizing the diverse talents within the ensemble. As they navigate the delicate balance of fostering relationships, seeking consensus, and acknowledging their areas for growth, Playmakers play a pivotal role in realizing the collective potential of the team, ultimately contributing to the broader objectives that bind them together.

For more information about the GC Index, an organimetric tool for contribution and impact, go here.  To learn how we can help increase understanding, contribution, impact, and value for your people and business by using the GC Index, contact us today!