Become a great team member

Sometime ago came across “7 Ways to Boost Your Ability as a Scrum Team Member”.

Caught my eye because, well, you know, I like “boost”, have been and are a Scrum Team Member, 7 is a nice number, and I love tips and tricks to improve my ability at anything.

Love that the author, Dan Sloan, gives a Kudo card to all scrum team members.

Seven ways

The seven ways to transform yourself from individual contributor to great team member according to Dan are:

  • Show Vulnerability in Front of Your Teammates.
  • Accept That You’re Going to Fail.
  • Be Honest About Who You Are.
  • Don’t Accept the Status Quo.
  • Stop Trying to Reach Consensus on Decisions.
  • Demand Clarity.
  • Stop Passing Judgment.

Very good advice. And Dan gives very valuable background information to go with each of these points.

Nobody, I think, can disagree with what Dan says.

Still, it leaves me feeling unsatisfied.


Dan readily admits that “It takes a lot for someone to transform from an individual contributor and into a real Team Member.”

As such his post may well – unintentionally – be more intimidating than helpful.

It would have been awesome if he had added some practical tips and suggestions on how to approach this all.

Still, I understand how difficult it is to come up with anything meaningful and concrete. Vulnerability and trust are extremely personal issues with extremely personal fears and uncertainties.

Writing about them in concrete terms with concrete examples is almost impossible. I know only one person who has pulled it off.

And to my delight, Dan also knows that person.

Daring Greatly

He suggests reading Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly to discover the power and strength needed to be vulnerable in front of others. An amazing book.

Why do you need to read it?

Because showing vulnerability is contagious.

And, although many teams do not have the level of trust within them that makes any of his suggestions even moderately easy to execute, it often only takes a single person to have the courage to show their vulnerability for this to start changing.

So, I absolutely second Dan’s recommendation.

But I’d add two more.

Brené Brown Trilogy

I cannot emphasize enough how strongly I recommend reading what I call the “Brené Brown trilogy on how to live, love, and lead using the power of vulnerability”:

  • The Gifts of Imperfection
    The gifts of imperfection
    Which shows you how to “be you” (Dan’s third point). It’s subtitle says it all: “Let go of who you think you are supposed to be and embrace who you are”. It has cured me of my perfectionism (which luckily for me was only a defense mechanism and not something really ingrained in my personality).

  • Daring Greatly
    Daring greatly
    Which shows you how to show up as you, to show vulnerability, to take on challenges without knowing the outcome, to be courageous, to dare. Something you need for all Dan’s suggestions.

  • Rising Strong
    Rising strong
    Which shows you how to rise from a fall 1. Stronger and more resourceful than you were before. Something you will need when you go through life daring greatly. Because opening yourself up to the words and actions of others (showing vulnerability) is inevitably going to lead to some hard situations.


Reading these three books has completely transformed my life.

I recommend reading them in the order I listed them (and that they were written in), as they build on each other.

Sometimes though, I think, the most important may actually be Rising Strong. Because when you know how to rise after a fall 1, there is very much less to fear about showing your vulnerability. Knowing that will make applying the first two much less daunting.

What books have you read that turned your life around?

1 A fall is not just trying and failing to do something. A fall is also being confronted with events and behaviors that make you feel bad in some way that you find hard to get past. A “fall” is basically anything that makes you mad, sad or afraid.

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