These days, many companies are finding that organizing employees into teams is an effective way to get the work done. When teams work well, they can accomplish a great deal. But because team members depend on each other, each member has the power to help the team achieve its goals or to interfere with the team’s success. Being a valuable team player requires more than just being good at your job. Team members must help establish a level of trust and honesty that allows each person to feel safe participating without fear of being harshly judged or ridiculed.
If you want to make a valuable contribution as a team member, here are some suggestions:
- Share your ideas and information freely
- Begin statements with “I” (“I feel,” “I think”)
- Help the team set goals
- Rely on and trust your teammates
- Listen to the ideas of others, and respect their different viewpoints
- Hold off on judging or criticizing
- Accept a certain amount of confusion or uncertainty
- Look for options that everyone can live with
- Support and work with the team’s decisions
- If you see a problem, propose a solution (rather than complaining about the problem)
- Be willing to share the credit for accomplishments Some of these habits may come naturally, while others may require practice. The effort you put into polishing these skills will be well worth it, because when the team reaches its goals, everybody wins!