It’s not just your individual skills that will get you a job. Your ability to work well in a team with co-workers is just as important.
Here are our tips for being a valued member of the team.
1. Be an active listener
Communication is a vital part of teamwork, and listening is a vital part of communication. Listen carefully to your colleagues and give them signals – verbally and through your body language – that show you’re listening.
More tips on improving your listening skills here.
2. Join in discussions and conversations
The old saying goes that two heads are better than one. In a team, you have several heads. Make a contribution to conversations.
Just letting other people get on with it is not good teamwork.
3. Know when to bite your tongue
Isn’t that at odds with joining in conversations? Not necessarily. Sometimes at the end of a discussion you’ll have to accept that the majority of the team, or the leaders of the team, disagree with your viewpoint. At this point, you have to be able to get on with your work.
Teamwork can get heated sometimes and it’s also advisable to bite your tongue in those circumstances.
4. Be dependable
Always deliver what you say you will. And always do it to deadline (or by when you’ve promised it you will have it done).
5. Be flexible
Things are always shifting in teams. Responsibilities, overall goals and the team dynamic are among the things that are liable to change.
Learn to adapt and go with the flow.
6. Know your strengths and weaknesses
Sometimes being a good team player is about what you don’t do as much as what you do. Have the self-awareness to know whether you’re the best person for a particular task… and the grace to accept this might not be your decision.
7. Don’t cherry-pick the best jobs
It’s all well and good to be aware of your strengths, but don’t use this as an excuse to pinch all the good jobs. Everybody in the team has to get their hands dirty and do things they don’t really want to do sometimes.
8. Look at the bigger picture
Don’t get too bogged down by your own tasks. Keep in mind the overall objectives of the team to make sure you and your co-workers don’t lose sight of the goal.
9. Be enthusiastic
Enthusiasm is infectious. It will encourage those around you to up their game.
You need only think about whether you would rather work in a team with somebody who is downbeat or positive about the work.
10. Be supportive
If you’re ahead of schedule with your tasks or you’ve spotted an opportunity to help a colleague, offer your support.
Again, put yourself in the shoes of your co-workers and consider whether you would appreciate the help.