Yesterday we looked at the telltale signs that you’re not a real team player in the workplace. We all know the importance of playing nicely with others so if yesterday’s list sounded familiar to you, let today’s list help guide you to becoming a better team player.
With our first article, we highlighted how an unwillingness to communicate with colleagues is inherently problematic when it comes to teamwork. Indeed, for any collaborative project to succeed, there needs to be excellent communication among all members of the group. Efficiency depends on everyone being on the same page from the beginning and you need to be able to discuss the project with your colleagues throughout the entire process.
A team is like an engine and if all the parts are working together and doing their job, the engine runs fine. It’s when some of the parts start lagging that everything shuts down. You may have developed your own work styles and set your own pace when working on individual projects, but things are different in a group work setting. People are relying on you to complete your share on-time. If you fall behind or don’t pull your wait, you could hold up everyone else’s work. Be reliable with you share of the work.
As we discussed in yesterday’s article, attitude plays a big role in how you operate as part of a team. It’s almost a guarantee that you find yourself in a group situation where there are disagreements. Whether it be the direction of the project, the work quality or any other differences that come up, a good team player knows how to handle those situations. Listen to the other opinions and then give your opinion. And always remember that it’s an opinion, not the answer. Any criticism you give should be made in a way that betters the collaboration rather than shutting it down.
Regardless of your experience, your level in the company or you own estimation of your skills, acting like the smartest person in the room is in no way helpful to the team dynamic. A good team player is someone who can teacher without lecturing and help without criticizing. Some of your colleagues may need help, so you do just that; help them. Steer them in the right direction instead of taking over. Becoming frustrated is not helpful for anyone so exercise some patience with your team members.
Too many people think that to be a good team member, you need to be agreeable and go with the flow. But any effective team needs to allow for open discussion. Feel free to offer you opinions and insights into the proceedings, even if they go against the ideas of the rest of the team. Speak up in a constructive way when you feel the current direction is a mistake. You don’t want to hold up the work or be stubborn, but sometimes a new approach is exactly what was needed.
Every team member has their role to play and their work to do, but don’t think that your role as a team member ends there. Doing the bare minimum is always a bad idea in the workplace and when you enter into a collaborative environment, and attitude like that means letting your team down. A true team player wants to see the project to the end and if that means putting in some extra work to help out your colleagues, then you shouldn’t hesitate.
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