How to Become an Effective Team Player

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By Chimeremma Nwadialor

I have known Ben for quite some time but for a couple of years now, Ben has tremendously climbed the rungs of his career faster and smoother than preceding years.

He is way older than I am but his friendly nature attracted me as it attracted a lot of other neighbours to him as well.

One day I took up the courage to ask him the secret of this superb turnaround. I went to his house and asked him “Mr Ben, what is the secret of your professional growth this few years?” He smiled and asked in reply “Are you with a writing pad? if not I guess you have to come back tomorrow evening with it”. Unfortunately, I had to come back the next day.

When I knocked on his door the next evening, he rushed, opened the door and welcomed me, he was ready for me. He said to me “listen carefully to all I’d say to you and you’d do even better in your career.”

It is good to have all the degrees and technical skills but if you do not have team spirit, you would be limiting yourself professionally and will soon be irrelevant in your workplace.

Success at work can hinge on some factors especially team spirit. This simply means having the skill and capacity to collaborate with your coworkers and team lead.

A good team player quickly develops concrete relationships with co-workers and your supervisors or bosses. It is in working with your team that you become more productive and better as well at your job unequivocally.

To be a good team player, the following are effective ways of being:

  1. BECOMING A GOOD COMMUNICATOR

You must learn to communicate effectively with your coworkers and your supervisors, team leads or bosses. It is important to note that the most integral part of being a team player at work is clear and effective communication.

Misunderstandings here and there could be avoided if crystal clear communication is practiced in the workplace. Being a good communicator also entails that you must be an active listener. Knowing what your coworkers and bosses want and need is as necessary as food and drink are to the body.

  1. BEING ACTIVE AND NOT PASSIVE.

 I bet, you have been in groups where inactive, dull and passive joiners are. They do not contribute a dime of idea to help the team achieve its mission, vision and goal. When the team depend on them to carry out a function, they come up with uncountable excuses.

A team player who surely has a team spirit offers his or her thoughts to help in the decision-making process. The truth is, by participating you are helping everyone, including yourself as well.

Helping to deal with problems and difficult situations shows team spirit. Rather than being picky and selective when it comes to taking actions and responsibilities try to proffer solutions and take up any responsibility given. Plus support coworkers and help them achieve their goals and responsibilities as well.

  1. SEEKING CLARIFICATION

Do not assume anything, If you do not clearly understand something, no matter how little the detail, do not hesitate to get clarification. Waiting for your coworkers or bosses to repeat in details the already given instructions or assignment might be largely futile and it is absolutely unwise.

You want to understand? then use the question mark, you have to ask how, what, when, where and maybe why. It is so frustrating to be given an assignment by the team and you work assiduously just to discover at the tail end of your work that you have been wrong the whole time.

Seek out the person who can assist you clarify the information and ask them for clarification. It is good to make sure that you understand the team’s expectations of you by getting clarification on your responsibilities and assignments.

  1. BEING CONSIDERATE AND RESPECTFUL

Be considerate and respectful to your coworkers and team lead. Consider that quality professional ideas can come from others and not you alone.

You must know that as a team player, things will not always go your way all the time, therefore be willing to step down your opinions on some issues and take into good consideration the needs of the entire team and its growth. 

You know not all, therefore ask questions if you do not understand why your team mates need you to see or do something differently. Being considerate and respectful are reciprocal, if you give others listening ears and safe landing, they are more likely to do the same for you.

  1. BEING RELIABLE.

First, learn to say no. If you learn to say no, there and then you can cut off responsibilities and functions you cannot meet up with. The idea is that you do not over-promise. Be sure also to meet up to the ones you say yes to, show up to the office on time and meet deadlines consistently.

Be honest enough about what and when you can and cannot deliver. It will pay you if your team lead and colleagues know up front that they need to find another solution than for you to fail to deliver. Reliability is good for business, no doubt and Consistency will earn you favor in the sight of your co-workers and your bosses or team leads.

Mr Ben rose and is still rising because he learned to strengthen his team spirit. It remains true “A tree does not make a forest”.

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