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How to Be a Team Player

In order to be successful in the workplace and advance in your role, you are going to need to be a team player. In a work setting, being successful and getting your work done is your individual responsibility. However, working together with your co-workers is essential and is likely an essential part of any job.

Thinking about working as a team to complete a project takes me back to college and illuminates a cringe-worthy image in my mind. Trying to get everyone together, working together and depending on others to get their part done was stressful and often very time consuming. It was difficult for me to work as a team in this setting because, as somewhat of a control freak, it was hard to trust that all of my team members would get their work done. When it’s a solo project, you only have to worry about yourself, your capabilities, your drive, your schedule, you, you, you. Easy enough. If you goof up, there’s no one blame but yourself.

The tune is quite different when you have to work as a team, but that is the beauty of team work. When you get the right people together, there is a harmonious flow of ideas circulating and your potential skyrockets. On the other hand, weak links in the team can bring everyone else down and make for a stressful mess of things. Not to mention a decreased potential in what you can achieve. You can’t control the actions and thoughts of others but you can, however, control your own. Take a look at some of these tips on how to be a team player in the workplace and try to avoid the cringe-worthy image of college projects this time around.

Basic Work Ethic
First thing’s first, this is no longer college. The days of making excuses as to why you missed the group meeting on Saturday are over and reliability, punctuality and hard work is a must. Even if you have been in the workplace for years, you can still take a cue from this tip. If you are working with a team and have a scheduled meeting, being on-time is absolutely essential. Scenario: the members of your department want to meet in order to discuss small issues or changes in the department. You have a full load of work on your plate and show up late for the meeting because you forgot what time it was. OK, we get it. You’re very, very busy- so is everyone else in the office. You are not the only one with a ton of work, but everyone else seemed to arrive on-time. You’re not special. You need to be just as punctual and reliable as everyone else on the team. Furthermore, in order to be a good team player, you have to always bring your “A” game. This is your job, so sitting back and letting others do the grunt work is not acceptable.

A team player is a good listener. In order to understand and communicate with other team members, you have to know how to listen to what they are saying. First off, there is a big difference between listening and hearing. A listener takes in what others are saying, chews on it for a bit, understands it and considers other points of view without having to make theirs known first. Someone who hears only hears the words someone else says and doesn’t think or absorb the true meaning because they are too concerned with what they want to say. By listening to your team members, you show that you are open to what others have to say and that their ideas and opinions matter. This is an essential characteristic needed in order to avoid being an overbearing control freak- something that never works well in a team setting.

Knowing how to communicate with your team members is very important in order to be a good team player. If you have thoughts, ideas or opinions on the work you and your team mates are completing then you should be able to communicate them calmly, clearly and honestly. Having open communication between you and your teammates is essential to your success. If you have an issue and never say anything about it, then chances are you will keep it in and let it fester. This can effect your interactions with team members in a negative way, even if you don’t realize it. If they have something to say, a good team member will express it in a positive and respectful way to their other team members.

Work Together
If you are a team player, then you can work together nicely and respectively with your other team members. Even if you have an issue with some of them, you are able to look past your issues and see the bigger picture: you need to get your work done with this person either way. A good team player will set their personal issues aside for the good of the entire team.

Appreciate Others’ Work
A good team player knows when and how to give credit where credit is due. They are appreciative of other people’s efforts and work because they understand how it benefits the whole team. If Tom did an awesome job at punching the needed numbers for an essential report, than a good team player tells Tom what an awesome job he did at getting the work done quickly and correctly and how greatly it benefited the team. Being appreciative of other team member’s work shows others that you care and that you see the hard work they put in. This is a large trait of a good team player and something that you will want to pick up as well, if you haven’t already.

IMAGE: Courtesy of Network Blogging Tips

Nicole Nicholson

Nicole is the Content Editor for Spark Hire and mainly writes for and edits the work for the Spark News blog. She graduated in 2010 with a BA in Journalism from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. She has a passion for writing, editing, and pretty much anything to do with content. In her free time she frequents the Chicago music scene and writes reviews on shows for her own personal blog. Connect with Nicole and Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter

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