Teamwork is a crucial way of completing projects. And it is totally worth developing and refining. To survive, get a promotion, or complete a project you need to be a good team player. A good team player is a valuable contributor to every team. And having a reputation as a team player will act as a catalyst to developing your career as a ‘go to’ person for getting new projects off the ground.
Teams are created for different reasons. It might be a small-scale project, a high-profile project with a lot of resources, or work on something ongoing. Whatever the reason, it always helps if the group syncs. Your efforts in a team will get noticed by leaders or executives, and this will create new career opportunities in high-profile critical projects. The advantages are endless.
Tips for Team-Playing
- Play to your strengths: Understand your strengths and support the team by leveraging those strengths. Contributing to tasks that you’re good at is relatively easier and more exciting. Also, you’ll naturally be good at the tasks in your area of expertise. This does not necessarily mean to do what you’re best at. If you’re the best at everything, and the team has other people who can do everything except one task, playing to your strengths would mean you do the task where you’re irreplaceable. Even if it’s only your second-strongest skill.
- Understand the team’s objectives: Many teams fail because of lack of communication and understanding the team’s objectives. Asking questions like “Why are we here?”, “What is our deadline?”, “What is our budget?” helps in getting a clear idea about the team’s objectives. Do this at the start, enough that everyone has the same answer, and reconsider if something changes.
- Be Reliable: Actions speak more than mere words. Don’t make promises that you can’t keep. Always take full responsibility for your actions in the group. Be consistent with your work. A sense of trust within the group will help the group to function better. Reliability is one of the important factors to become a great team player.
- Communication is Key: If the team is working on an idea that won’t work, bring that to the team’s attention. Your silence can leave the team barking up the wrong tree. Support the ideas you like as well. Being objective rather than emotional helps a lot. Get involved and be active in the group discussions.
- Stay Flexible: Budgets change, members join or leave, objectives are modified. All of this is fairly normal. As a team player, you’re expected to brace for the change. This might mean you have to reconsider your objectives, or maybe you can just see the change as a new opportunity to grow.
- Share resources: Always remember that all of the team members have a single objective. Share your knowledge and resources with them. There is an African Proverb that says “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
- Keep a positive attitude: People with positive energy are welcomed everywhere in the world. Counter questions like “Why?” with “Why not?” A positive attitude helps a lot in bringing the group together. Keeping a positive attitude boosts morale in the team and can help performance.
- Celebrate your team members’ success: “Humble people are quick to point out the contributions of others and slow to seek attention for their own. They share credit, emphasize team over self, and define success collectively rather than individually.” says Patrick Lencioni. A great way to build trust and respect with the team members is to give credit when it’s due. If a member of your team succeeds, so do you. It means you are closer to completing a shared goal.