7 Ways to Be a Good Team Player
To be a top performer during stressful times, you must know how to play well with others at work.
Now more than ever, it's evident that teamwork is important and workers around the world have to stick together. Want to do your part? To boost your own profile (and reap the rewards), first you must be a team player and help others succeed.
To be a great team player, you obviously have to be able to work with a diverse group of people. According to the Monster Future of Work: 2021 Outlook survey, employers chose teamwork/collaboration as the second most important skill a candidate should have, preceded by dependability.
That's because teamwork isn't just good for company morale during these trying times, it also sets you up for greater success at your job (promotion, anyone?). Teamwork brings together different points of view and allows for creativity and fresh ideas to flourish. Plus, you have trusted people you can fall back on for support, which means there's less stress resting solely on your shoulders, which means you're freer to take smart risks.
So how do you go about working well with others? Check out these seven ways to be a great team player.
1. Meet Your Deadlines
To earn your coworkers' goodwill, you have to be reliable. Put simply: You want to establish yourself as trustworthy—someone who produces high-quality work in a timely fashion to meet deadlines. That means, if you say you're going to do something, you can be trusted to do it and do it well.
Reliability is especially important during group projects; after all, if you miss a deadline, your mistake can negatively affect the entire team.
2. Be Open-minded
Part of being a team player is being open to other people's ideas and perspectives. That means honing your listening skills and being receptive to feedback from co-workers. So, instead of getting defensive when you receive constructive criticism, see what you can glean from their advice.
In fact, the strongest team players solicit feedback from their coworkers. For instance, after completing a group assignment, ask your peers for suggestions on how to improve on your next project.
3. Appreciate Other People's Work Styles
Figuring out how to work well with a variety of personalities can be challenging, particularly in today's multigenerational workforce, since Millennials and Gen-Xers often have different work styles than baby boomers. However, understanding how each of your colleagues works best can make you a better team player.
Tailoring your communication style to different personalities can help you avoid issues with co-workers and collaborate more efficiently. Take our quick workplace personality quiz to determine which one of these four common types of employees describes you best, and how you can work well with the others.
4. Adapt Quickly
Not everything you do as a team is going to result in success; there will be plenty of flops along the way. But getting hung up on mistakes only throws a wrench in the gears of progress. That's why flexibility is one of the key traits of a team player. So, the next time you encounter a problem, make sure you respond judiciously.
Rather than being upset that something didn't work out, step back and say, "Okay, I know we have to make a different decision, so let's figure out what we're going to do."
5. Avoid Office Politics
Strong teamwork is important to a healthy work culture. Office politics can create a toxic work environment—even when you're working remotely—but you don't have to be a part of it. Stay out of the rumor mill.
To achieve this, always treat coworkers with respect, and don't become an office gossipmonger. If you have an issue with a peer, try to address it with the person directly before bringing it to your boss or human resources.
6. Focus on the Team's Goals
While you want to distinguish yourself as a top performer poised for greatness, it's still important to focus on the bigger picture when working on a group project.
At the root of being a team player is being willing and able to put the team's interests above your own. You may have done a stellar job on the part of a presentation you were responsible for, but that matters very little if the overall project fails to achieve what you needed it to do.
7. Celebrate Your Peers' Successes
One of the easiest ways to build authentic relationships with coworkers is to give credit where it's due.
Team players are intrinsically humble, and humble people have no problem pointing out the contributions of others rather than seeking the spotlight for their own. Look to share credit, emphasize team over self, and define success collectively rather than individually.
For example, at your next department meeting, take a minute to publicly thank that coworker for helping you put together last week's client presentation. By celebrating a coworker's success, he or she will likely do the same for you in the future.
Be a True Team Player
Once you really understand why teamwork is important and the value of being a team player, you'll want to ensure you're doing everything you can to support your coworkers. Need more help to get you through all the uncertainty? When you set up a free Monster profile, you'll get best practices for collaborating, career advice, and job search tips sent directly to your inbox. We've got you covered.