Every organization relies on effective teams to drive it toward success. But what does being a team player really mean? Yes, these individuals perform well within a team, but if we break that down, what components make someone an effective team player? Here are 10 qualities that can make for an outstanding team player in the workplace.
1. They are committed to the team
Committed team players give their time and energy to someone or something they believe in. However, genuine commitment is much more than that. Team players who are genuinely committed do so without any expectation of return, conditions, or rewards. There is no turning back and whatever the outcome, they support it 100%.
2. They are flexible
We can’t always predict when changes are going to happen, much less prepare for them. That’s why flexibility is so important. When a team player is flexible, they typically are also versatile, resilient, and responsive to change – all while keeping calm and making sound decisions without unruly outbursts. Flexible team players understand and manage situations by looking at them from different perspectives. When asked, a flexible team player will consider how it will benefit the company, the team, or their career rather than thinking, “Really, more work?”
3. They are engaged
Simply doing your work isn’t always enough. It’s a good thing to get involved and be proactive, as long as you aren’t bothering people with questions to which you should know the answer. Great team players ask questions for clarity and understanding and contribute where they can. Collaboration is essential to the success of a team. Remember, “two heads are better than one.”
4. They are reliable and responsible
An excellent team player completes tasks in order of priority, not necessarily in order that they’re given. When they aren’t sure of what should take priority, they ask their manager. As a reliable and responsible team player, you will be able to manage your time effectively, be prepared for meetings, and be trusted to work on your own without constant supervision. Your manager and teammates will feel like they can rely on you for help and support whenever needed.
5. They actively listen
You are only a team player if you respectfully consider the viewpoints and ideas of other people as well. Active listening is harder than you think. When you hear someone saying something you don’t agree with, listen to understand, not answer. Consider what they’re saying and more importantly, why they believe that.
6. They communicate within their team
Transparency is key on a team, and good team players actively work to keep other team members informed. No one likes to be blind-sided. When team members share information and everyone is on the same page, it could be the difference between the success and failure of a project. Team members who are informed are more likely to trust you, stay engaged, and are more motivated to reciprocate.
7. They lend a helping hand
As a team, we are only as strong as our weakest link. Look for opportunities to help your team members grow. For example, if a member of your team is having trouble with a technology tool that is easy for you, offer to sit down with them and show them what you know. A word of caution: your passion may be confusing and come across as condescending to the other person. Remember to be genuine and respectful.
8. They are respectful
It is important to be self-aware of how you treat others. Respect is earned but can be lost in a moment’s notice. An ideal team player knows how to have fun but would never do it at someone else’s expense. You earn the respect of your co-workers a lot more quickly [LL1] by expressing genuine interest in them rather than trying to make them interested in you.
9. They are problem-solvers
It is easy for everyone to point out problems; however, there is no reason why you can’t offer solutions yourself. Your teammates will appreciate your skills, which can also help you earn respect more quickly.
10. They recognize and acknowledge when they are wrong
A good team player will back off an idea when it becomes clear it’s not the right path. Acknowledge what went wrong, or won’t work, and then focus on expectations moving forward. Don’t be a stubborn stick in the mud; rather, focus on what may or may not have gone wrong. Keep moving forward.
This article was updated June 22, 2017. Original content was written by Lara Pole.