Remember the days of choosing up teams at recess and how you longed to be one of the first “chosen” for kickball? While your playground days may be long gone, hopefully, the drive to be a desirable team member is still there. Only now it’s shifted from the playground to the workplace. And if you’re lucky, that drive is stronger now than ever. Why? Because being the guy or gal that every committee, department, and HR manager wants on his/her team is sure to boost your career.
So what does a team player look like in the adult world?
According to Steve Kass,
president of the Great Plains District of Robert Half International (RHI), a team player is someone who can "put the team goals and the team accountability ahead of their individual situation." The opposite of an “each man for himself” viewpoint.
The ideal workforce team player will:
The team has to be certain they can count on you. Completing your share of the work, on time, with a demonstrated commitment to work hard and follow through is the composite of reliability. And such behavior must be the norm, not the exception because consistency is to reliability as day is to night. One naturally follows the other. You can’t be considered reliable without demonstrating a consistently reliable behavior.
A welcoming attitude toward constructive feedback is a must. Being able to incorporate, and even solicit advice and opinions from co-workers sends a message that “it’s not all about me,” but that the good of the team is your ultimate goal. Couple this acceptance of feedback with a desire to continually learn, grow and be challenged, and you’ve got the recipe for success in the team-driven dynamic, which many industries utilize.
The best teams are made up of people who possess different strengths, who bring diversity to the table. These differences, however, can be a huge roadblock if active listening isn’t also a foundation of the group. In fact, the fine art of listening is never more important than when several people must jell their individual aspirations, ideas, and viewpoints into a cohesive plan, project, or presentation.
The best posture for listening? A closed mouth, an open, discerning mind, attentive eyes, a spirit of cooperation, and an all-for-the-team attitude. Oh and two hearing ears. Now
you’re ready to understand, absorb, and fully consider every idea that’s presented. Teams must have true dialogue and that only happens when people listen first and speak second.
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Return to the MPS Technical blog next week for Team Playing - Part 2, where we’ll look at what active participation on an effective team looks like.