This article was originally published on the Forbes | Coaches Council
One common requirement that often appears in job postings is being a “team player.” However, there’s often no clear indication of what that means, making it an ambiguous requirement. The needs of each team and position vary depending on its members, strategies, and goals.
After working with executives for decades, I’ve identified four factors that are positively correlated with people who are perceived as team players. Become an indispensable team member by following these tips
Are you someone people can count on to get the job done? Do you pull your own weight and treat coworkers with courtesy and consideration in task completion? Do you take the initiative and look for additional ways to contribute so the team can collectively reach its goals?
If you do not excel in this area, consider starting small. Make a small commitment to yourself and keep it. Once you achieve that, then make a bigger one. Continue until it becomes second nature and you can consistently meet commitments you make to yourself and others. Building a habit takes time, so don’t sabotage yourself by over-promising.
2. Willingness To Learn
Do you approach new situations with a growth mindset? Do you keep an open mind and believe that collaboration brings out the best solutions? Are you willing to learn from others and adapt to new ideas and ways of doing things?
If you find yourself struggling in this aspect, it’s worth delving deeper. Often, those who have difficulty adapting may lack sufficient information. They might be uncertain about the reasons for a change or the manner in which changes will occur. They may also lack confidence in the correct execution of the change.
Take a moment to contemplate both the potential benefits and drawbacks of change. Consider scenarios where things could go awry and what the solutions might be. You’ll find greater comfort once you realize the value of embracing change.
Do you take responsibility for your actions and also hold others accountable? While you contribute significantly to the team, there may be times when you make a misstep. In such situations, do you seek feedback to ensure continuous improvement?
Being a team player doesn’t mean being a pushover or carrying the entire weight of the team. The presence of accountability is the hallmark of a high-performing team.
If this factor trips you up, know that you’re not alone. Accountability can be challenging because speaking up may be perceived as “harsh,” and most people tend to avoid confrontation. Try shifting your perspective from “I want to go along” to “I want to do what’s best for the team.” You’ll realize that instead of confrontation and conflict, you’re all on the same team! It’s simply a matter of aligning responsibilities and priorities.
Are you truthful and clear in your communications, even in challenging circumstances? Do you show gratitude for others’ contributions and pay attention to what they say? Do you ask questions to clarify anything you need help understanding? And yes, do you express uncomfortable truths in the most tactful way? (Because that’s what a true teammate does.)
If this aspect poses a challenge, keep in mind Brené Brown’s famous words: “Clear is kind.” Yes, clarity can be uncomfortable, but you have taken on that responsibility as part of your job. So hold yourself accountable, and be willing to make this change to be a reliable team member who communicates clearly.
By embracing the principles of reliability, a growth mindset, accountability, and clear communication, you’re not only enhancing your role as a team player; you’re also contributing to a more dynamic and successful work environment. Remember, being a team player isn’t just a job requirement; it’s a mindset that fosters collaboration, innovation, and collective achievement. By embodying these qualities, you’re setting a standard for excellence in any team you join.
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