Being part of a team means that you have to focus on working with your team members in order to achieve your common goals. You need to be present and participative, always showing your support and providing the help that other members of the team need. You also need to ensure that you and the rest of the team are able to work harmoniously all the time.
It might seem simple enough, but navigating the dynamics of working with a team requires some work as well. There will be times when collaborating with your other team members will be more important than handling your own tasks. That is why you need to learn how to be a true team player, in order to contribute to the success of your team.
In every organization, you are expected to fulfill a role as an individual and also within your team. To be a valuable team member, you must be aware of your responsibilities as well as those of others and are also sensitive to tasks that require team collaboration. That’s why it’s important for every member to know their team’s objectives, processes, and expected outputs.
What does it take to become a good team player? There are four key elements that you need to learn in order to play your role in your team well. Remember that more than being the best in the team, it’s more important to become the best for your team. Let’s take a look at these four strategies and how you can master them.
What can be more important than communicating with your team members? As a team player, you have to make it a point to regularly interact with your team members. All of you will learn from one another this way. There’s nothing like open communication and socialization to strengthen your ties as a team.
Interaction is doesn’t just mean it’s out of obligation because of work; you also need to engage them socially during work hours. Your relationships with your team members are important in determining how well your team will work together. Frequent interaction will enable you to build rapport among members and foster a safe and open working environment for everyone.
Regular meetings, both formal and informal, are also important for teams. If you want to be a successful team player, you have to use these opportunities to ask questions, listen intently, clarify things, and determine whether your expectations should be managed. These meetings help solidify your goals as a team and reminds every team member of what you should all work for.
The frequency of these meetings depends on the tasks at hand and how urgent they are. Some teams need to meet more often than others. Productive meetings ensure that everyone takes responsibility and is on the same page, and will come out of it working more effectively towards the team’s goals.
How do you manage information within your team? Having access to information will enhance your understanding of team objectives and tasks, and will also ensure that your team works effectively. It’s important for team members to exchange information in order to guide one another and enable smart decision making.
Information can be considered rich if it enables a team member to reevaluate their understanding of tasks or objectives. From task updates to process improvements, these bits of information allow team members to move forward and makes the team more effective. Relaying information can either be done electronically or face to face, depending on how rich the information is.
Face to face is the most ideal medium of sharing information because it strengthens communication, coordination, and collaboration within the team. However, it can also result in time drains especially during meetings, when too much information is shared among team members. Leaders and other members should be mindful of this, in order to maintain efficiency within the team.
In some cases, teams will not have the means to facilitate face to face communication. This is true for virtual teams. In order for information sharing to become more effective, teams should gather in person before starting work together in order to align regarding team objectives, strategies, and processes.
As far as decision making goes, teams make better decisions as a group as opposed to team members working alone. So how can teams ensure that the ideal decision is made at every opportunity? By identifying processes that will empower every member of the team to make the best decision, even when they’re on their own.
It’s not as easy as it sounds. From social factors like conformity, status and heirarchy, and groupthink to personality differences, egocentricity, and lack of communication skills, team members will have to approach decision-making with extra care. Leaders should also exercise caution and strike the right balance between exercising their power and allowing excessive democracy. One way to make this happen is by applying the stepladder technique to decision-making.
To do this, each member of the team should provide input by presenting their individual views without learning about the other team members’ views first. Once everyone has given their preliminary views, each team member will be given a chance to present their input and discuss all input face to face with the team. A final decision will be reached at the end of the discussion.
The stepladder technique makes it possible for all perspectives to be acknowledged, and everyone is also expected to contribute and be accountable for their contribution to the discussion. When these opinions are explored, the team will become more enlightened about other ideas, feel more empowered to express themselves, and learn how to make the best possible decision for everyone.
It’s every team member’s responsibility to foster a safe environment that allows everyone to grow and contribute to the team. To be a good team player, you need to make sure that other members of the team rarely feel underestimated or ignored in your group. This will enable all team members to feel valuable, therefore encourage them to give their best towards achieving the team’s goals.
A positive climate is important to enable your team to work harmoniously. Without it, team members will feel anxious and think that they’re being watched with their every move. When you have a positive environment, team members will feel like they are supported and trusted, making them more enthusiastic about work.
How can you ensure innovation and effectiveness by creating a safe environment? Clarity, recognition, regular interaction, and appreciation must be present. Leaders should always emphasize the importance of everyone having the same objectives and encourage team members to trust each other.
A safe environment makes teamwork possible. When team members share acceptance, warmth, humor, and support, the team will be able to prosper more. It ensures that the team members’ wellbeing is taken into consideration while encouraging the team to work harder in order to go farther together.