‘Good team player’ is a common requisite in many job descriptions, and understandably so; within large organisations, teams of sometimes disparate members have to come together to deliver a one-time project, or work together on an ongoing basis. By taking advantage of a group’s collective energy, creativity, skills and experience, much more can be achieved in less time than by the same people individually.
So, just what does make a good team player?
Good team players actively participate in the team and its activities. They listen and speak up in discussions, take the initiative to help make things happen, and volunteer for assignments.
Conflict is to be expected within a group, but disagreements will often play a vital role in forming the team’s identity.
Good teams players speak up and express their thoughts and ideas clearly, directly, honestly, and with respect for others and for the work of the team.
When a team member has worked hard, make a point of congratulating and complimenting them. Co-operate, don’t compete with other departments and colleagues – try to be motivated by seeing your fellow team members succeed. If they’re having difficulty, offer to help them with advice, skills or knowledge they may lack.
Sharing and being open
Good team players keep other team members in the loop with information, knowledge and expertise that helps get the job done and prevents surprises.
Good team players are willing to deal with all kinds of problems in a solutions-oriented manner. They’re problem-solvers, not problem-dwellers, problem-blamers, or problem-avoiders.
If you’re asked to do something as part of a team, always make sure you do it, and do it to the agreed deadline.
Complaining and gossiping will make you unpopular and make working with your team members difficult. As always, if you have a problem, talk it through with the relevant person or people.
Not blaming others
Regularly blaming others will only make you look defensive and incompetent, and people will quickly lose respect for you. If you do something wrong, own it and quickly make it right.
Going the extra mile
Peers and managers all notice people who try harder and put in more effort than is expected of them. It’ll get you respect, which goes a long way in both within the team and the larger organisation.
Belbin’s Team Roles
There are nine roles within the Belbin team model; do you see yourself as any of these?
- Shapers – those who challenge the team to improve.
- Implementers – those who get things done.
- Completer-Finishers – those who see that projects are completed thoroughly.
- Coordinators – those who take on the traditional team leader role.
- Team Workers – those who are negotiators, and make sure the team is working together.
- Resource Investigators – those who work with external stakeholders to help the team meet its objectives.
- Plants – those who come up with new ideas and approaches.
- Monitor-Evaluators – those who analyse and evaluate ideas that other people come up with.
- Specialists – those with specialist knowledge that’s needed to get the job done.