Teams don’t work without teamwork! In any environment, teamwork is important for success. To have a meaningful and lifelong career, you must work well with others, which is why teamwork is so important in the professional world. Learning to be a good team player will help you achieve your work goals and get along better with your colleagues. So why do we often find it difficult to work with others?
We are all different, we have different personalities, different needs, different priorities, different motivations, different stressors and different communication styles. The first step in building a better relationship and achieving better results is for us to understand ourselves and others. Only then can we be more efficient while working together as a team. When trying to complete an important project, it’s easy to feel like you can only trust yourself to get the job done. You might even work long hours, leave your colleagues out of important email threads, or make decisions without input from others on your team. Although this may seem like a more efficient way to get things done, in the long run this can do more harm to your career.
Even if your colleagues- are difficult to be around, you have to learn how to be a good team player. Teamwork skills are important for professional as well as personal life goals. From networking to emotional support, your “team” is comprised of people who can make or break your goals. Everyone has different strengths, thoughts and ideas that can contribute to the success of solving any problem. Plus, if you don’t work well with others, you could burn out from the effort of trying to do everything alone.
So let’s dive right into improving your teamwork skills at work by learning what makes up the characteristics of a good team member. Being a good collaborator takes more than just being liked by your colleagues. Sometimes it’s about making tough decisions for the benefit of the group or being the objective voice in a controversial meeting. Above all, a good team player has the following:
Accountability. Productive team players are accountable to themselves and to others. They take responsibility for their actions or mistakes and understand how their choices impact the team.
Flexibility. Adjusting to change is a critical part of a team’s success. Strong team players are willing to take on new challenges to support their peers.
Positivity. A positive mental attitude keeps morale high and can be a value added feather in one’s cap.
Commitment. Strong team players believe in the group’s processes and team goals. They stand in agreement with the rest of their members.
Integrity. The value of integrity is important in a team setting. A good colleague doesn’t just say “yes” to everything — they push back on ideas they think go against the team’s values.
Here are a few tips on how to be a better team player in the workplace.
Communicate. This means using active listening, relaying your ideas clearly, and trying to connect with your team. Regularly check in with your colleagues to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Be a problem-solver. Your team will face challenges. Critical thinking and problem-solving are essential to overcoming these hurdles. Be ready to suggest creative solutions when brainstorming.
Know your role (and your limits). You should know what’s expected of you and how your role fits within the team. Be realistic about how much work you can take on as others may depend on you.
The initiative. Taking the initiative means helping prevent problems before they happen. It also means addressing them as soon as they appear, if and when they do.
Know your strengths. Most projects go through a planning phase where everyone’s assigned tasks. Help people understand how you can contribute.
Be supportive. Celebrate your team’s success. Give compliments on other people’s work. And if they’re struggling, be ready to offer advice or lend a hand without effecting your own work priorities.
Share information. Found useful tips or resources online? Send it over to your team. If you have worked on similar projects before? Share your experience. This information exchange will help produce better work.
The spirit of leadership is being a good team player while balancing leadership and collaboration. You’re a vital part of the team, even if you’re not the team leader. Remember that no matter your role, you can’t build a successful team if you don’t trust each other. Your job is to help one another excel — and you don’t need to be a team leader to make that happen.