One recent poll of large organizations reported that 80 percent of managers surveyed rated “team player” skills or “team work” skills among the top three most desirable qualities an employee needs in today’s workforce.
In another study, nearly 40 percent of 125 companies polled by a placement firm picked “being a team player” as the top workplace value among 7 traits. Highly developed team skills are often an unwritten and undefined expectation when employees are hired. But what exactly does “being a team player” mean anyway? Here are some of my thoughts on the subject.
In general team skills can be divided into two categories: job performance and human relations skills.
Job performance refers to how well you know and can do your job while human relations skills have to do with how you relate to co-workers and the style you use when working with them. Let’s look at some traits of an exceptional team member in both categories of skills.
First, you must be technically competent. If you let the team down or cause problems because you don’t know your job well, you will never be judged to be a team player. You need to take responsibility for your skills and knowledge so that you don’t drag down the team or over rely on others to do your job well.
Effective team players are proactive. They look around for problems to solve and are never heard to utter the words, “It’s not my job.” They don’t wait for direction and might even volunteer to take responsibility for a problem that no one else has time to deal with.
You must also pull your own weight on the team. If you don’t carry your fair share of the work load, you will develop a poor reputation. Avoid procrastination and do what has to be done.
Thinking about the big picture is vital to being a good team player. It’s very easy to get caught up in the day-to-day details of your work; but it is also important to see beyond your individual job. Team players understand how their job fits into the purpose and goals of the department and the entire organization so they can make suggestions in team meetings.
One critical skill for a team player is being receptive to change. No one likes to work with a naysayer who shoots down every new idea before it gets off the drawing board. Although there will be times when you need to question why and how a change is taking place, if you find yourself thinking negatively about every new idea suggested, perhaps its time to reconsider your approach to change. In effective teams, new ideas are embraced enthusiastically and explored fully before they are discarded.
Are you trustworthy? A true team player must possess this quality.
If there is not trust between team members, there can not be a foundation of goodwill that is needed to work together and get things done together.
Remember that the way to encourage trust is to be trustworthy yourself. Do what you say you will do when it needs to be done and honor deadlines. Deal with others in an honest and “above the board” manner. Trust is an invisible element, like air. You can’t see it, but you can’t get along without it for long.
About Trevina Broussard
I share valuable Customer Service tips and insights for front line managers and employees on how to deliver customer service to keep your customer coming back. The name of the game is customer loyalty and it’s not just about satisfaction. It’s about a willingness to be a repeat buyer, willingness to recommend you to others, and resistance to switching to a competitor. Fortunately I learned this lesson through my 15-year corporate career. Poor service is an all-too-frequent experience for us all. I provide a framework for implementing ongoing processes that can build customer loyalty.