How to Be a Team Player – 5 Essential Points

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There’s an African proverb that says: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Whether it’s with your family, friends, colleagues, or a romantic partner, this saying holds true. If you don’t know how to be a team player, you’re going to have problems in your social and professional life, which will prevent you from achieving all you can achieve.

We now detail five key points that will allow you to become a team player.

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Point #1 – Have Good and Open Communication

 

Some people are so used to doing things alone that they forget that they now have other people there who are involved in whatever it is that they’re doing, be it a romantic relationship, family matters, or work. If you’re used to doing things all on your own and you don’t know how to be a team player, start by updating your “team members” and sharing information with them.

In order to successfully work as a team and to achieve all benefits of being part of a team, all team members must really feel that they’re participating as “equals” in the team. “Equals” doesn’t mean there can’t be some sort of hierarchy, but it does mean that they need to feel that they are counted and that their opinion and presence matter.

If you keep things to yourself, your team members are going to get “surprised” by things that they expected to be notified about but they weren’t. Also, they may become frustrated because they could’ve helped you easily solve issues that you encountered, if you had just shared them.

If you want the team to be successful, each team member should keep everyone else in the loop, and the team should communicate all the relevant information to its members. That way, everybody feels part of the team, and people can suggest ideas that can solve other people’s issues.

Point #2 – Be Positive, Respectful and Appreciating

 

No one wants to be part of a team where all they get is negative attitude and disrespect, and a feeling that their contribution is not worth much. People thrive when they feel respected and appreciated. It doesn’t mean that you need to call a bad job “good”, but it does mean that you need to look at the positive side and approach it in that fashion. There’s always a better way to say the same thing.

So first, be appreciative of other people’s efforts and their contribution to the “team.” This is very important when you want to become a team player. Respect other people’s efforts, even if the result is not that great. It could be that your wife spent the entire day making a surprise romantic dinner for you, but she tried to do so many things at once that it didn’t come out that tasty. But she did spend the whole day trying to do something nice for you. If you can’t show appreciation and respect to that, then you’re exhibiting an awful behavior that you should take care of.

Second, look at everything in a positive way. Remember that you can fail or make mistakes too, and you will at some point. When it happens, you would want people to not make a big deal out of it and encourage you to continue and try again until you’re successful.

How to Be a Team Player - Pencil

Point #3 – Be Patient and Supportive

 

We remind you again of the African proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” It implies that when you’re not doing things alone, things may not go as fast as they would, if you would just do them on your own.

However, you must understand that even if you could’ve done everything in life on your own (and you can’t), doing things together has lots of added benefits:

  1. It reduces the workload on you
  2. It gives you new ideas you haven’t thought of
  3. Other people have talents or expertise that you don’t have
  4. It’s easier to support each other and overcome challenges when things get tough
  5. Some things you want/need to do but you never have the time to get to when you do things all alone

So, don’t get impatient because “you would’ve done things better and faster on your own.” Maybe you would have, and maybe you wouldn’t. The important thing is to concentrate on the added value working as a team brings you, and become a team player. If you can’t see the added value, then maybe you’re not really working as a team, or you picked the wrong team.

If you know how to do things better and faster, by all means – teach your team members, so they can be more productive. They will appreciate it, as long as you don’t do it in a condescending way, but in a helpful way. But be patient if it takes them time, and remember that either way they’re adding value to whatever it is you do all on your own. Besides, you once had to learn those things too.

Point #4 – Ask for Assistance When Needed

 

Don’t think that you can do everything on your own, or that you know the solution to every problem or the best way to do everything. Arrogance is one of the things that can get people stuck in life, and you sure don’t want to fall into that category.

Whenever you’re facing some sort of issue that cannot be resolved immediately, share it with your team members, especially if they have more knowledge than you in such matters. Listen with an open mind to any suggested solution, and don’t be shy to ask someone to actually assist you in solving the matter, or to even take care of the whole thing for you.

One of the main reasons for doing things in a team is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. If you don’t request and accept the assistance of other people in the team, you’re hurting this concept, and consequently, the delicate fabric of the team.

Point #5 – Show Great Devotion, Loyalty, Dependability, and Integrity

 

No one wants to do anything significant with people they can’t trust, and trust has many facets. First and foremost, you need to show devotion and commitment to the “team”. In a good and healthy team, there cannot be a significant imbalance between the level of commitment of the different team members. It will always generate friction that will lead to bad results. However, you need to lead by example and show your motivation, devotion, and commitment to the team, and wait for the others to follow suit. Don’t wait for other people to show their commitment before you do – lead the way.

Second, trust means loyalty, and loyalty means that even when times are tough, you stay strong and fully committed to the team. There are always hard times in life, and your loyalty will be tested from time to time. Being loyal to the team, not quitting, and not doing anything that harms the team, is what makes people highly respected and brings them much success in life.

Third, in order to become a team player you need to be dependable. If people can’t rely on you to do what you said you would do, to provide quality work, and to provide it in the time it was supposed to be done, no one will want to work with you. A dependable person gives the team peace of mind, where people know that they don’t need to constantly check what’s going on to make sure there are no unexpected “surprises”.

Fourth, is your integrity. Be open and honest, don’t lie, cheat, withhold information, trick other people, falsify data, or provide any less than the best that you can do. If people can’t trust what you’re saying or doing, there’s no point in having you on the team. Imagine being in a relationship where your partner goes out with “friends” at night and tells you some story that you don’t really trust. How would that feel? Would you want to be in such a relationship? The same goes for any kind of team.

Long story short, trust, in all its forms, is a critical factor when talking about how to be a team player. Without trust, there is no team. Not a healthy and successful one, at least.

How to Be a Team Player - Team Sign

Summary

 

We discussed how to be a team player, and presented 5 key points:

  1. Have good and open communication
  2. Be positive, respectful and appreciating
  3. Be patient and supportive
  4. Ask for assistance when needed
  5. Show great devotion, loyalty, dependability, and integrity

Make sure you treat others the way you want them to treat you, but make sure that all team members observe all the key points listed above. If there are team members whose behavior harms the team, you should seriously consider taking them out of the team, if possible.

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