Recently, we talked about the importance of highlighting the tried and true skills all employers look for. Certainly among those skills is the all-important team work skills. Employers want someone who can stand on their own as a professional but it every workplace, those who can work independently as well as collaboratively, is truly valuable.
As important as it is to be a team player in the professional world, too many ignore its importance. Worse than that, some people fail to realize that they are in fact poor team players. It’s not a good hat to wear in the office to be the one who can’t or won’t collaborate, and it could indeed put your job in jeopardy. Take a look at these signs of a poor team player. If they sound like that might apply to you, then it may be time to look at how you can improve your collaboration skills.
You avoid interactions with co-workers whenever possible.
There’s a difference between being an introvert at work and being a poor team player. Communication with your coworkers is extremely important in terms of collaboration. While you can’t be expected to get to every social engagement with every person you work with, you should go out of your way to strike up the occasional conversation with your colleagues. Ask how they’re doing, how their weekend was, how their family is—a little small talk goes a long way and doesn’t require much from you. More importantly, an unwillingness or indifference to doing this shows you have no intention of strengthening work relationships. So if you find yourself emailing coworkers instead of visiting them at their desks, it’s time to reevaluate your approach.
You take issue with most/all of your co-workers.
There’s an old saying, “If you meet a jerk in the morning, then it’s bad luck. If you meet jerks all day long, you’re probably the jerk.”
To be a poor team player requires a bit of delusion. That’s not to say it’s impossible that some of you co-workers will be unpleasant to deal with, but if you’ve come to the conclusion that the majority of the office is populated by ineffective, unintelligent and all around poor professionals, then the problem isn’t with them.
You only trust your own work.
Speaking of delusion, let it be known now and always that you are not the only one in the office that turns in good work. There’s not some conspiracy within your organization to hire only incompetent employees other than yourself. Some people work differently than others, and when they collaborate they learn to combine those different work styles into a way that works. Thinking that your co-workers don’t have the skills to produce the same quality of work as you is a fairly ignorant outlook to take and refusing to find a common work style with them is lazy.
Your co-workers’ success bothers you.
A lot of issues related to collaboration come about because of poor attitude. How you look at work relationships from the outset informs a lot about how you’ll perform in a collaborative environment. A telltale sign that your attitude is problematic is how you react to your co-workers’ success. If you feel bitter, resentful or jealous at other’s achievements then you really need to take a step back and question why you’re having these reactions. Seeing your colleagues as competition is a fundamentally flawed way of operating in the professional world, and certainly sets up a massive roadblock for any collaborating you’ll need to do.
As they say, acknowledging the problem is the first step to fixing it. So if any of these signs rang true for you, don’t despair. Tomorrow we’ll look at ways to improve your team work skills.
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