From emotional support to helping build a career, from networking to making tough decisions, let’s check out how to be a good team member!
Being a good team player is tough – you’ve to be assertive while being approachable. You have to have certain conversations but avoid some! So, here are the 10 traits every team member should have! Here’s a complete guide to being a good team member.
Co-workers or teammates are like half family and half friends, right?! You spend most of your time like 70% of your day with them and hence they become almost like your family. At least that’s the case with me. You have a special bond with them during leisure and outings, which makes them almost like your friends. I have made great connections and still stay in touch with most of my workmates.
I have worked with prominent MNCs and an NGO and it’s been almost a decade since I got my first job as an associate. Ah! Time flies and yet sometimes I feel like a newcomer. There’s so much to learn, relearn, and the most important aspect of professional life – unlearn!
Well, you see, every day is a new day and in this fast-paced world, it’s important to be updated with the latest technologies, trends, and news. But it’s also important to let go of old techniques that are of no use and make room for newer practices.
Who’s a Good Team Member?
Initially, when I joined my first organization, I was told to follow a set of rules and abide by them. But we millennials had our way, right?! I have met the best people through work. I’m in touch with most of my ex-colleagues compared to my ex-classmates. Of course, I have had my share of ups and downs but I’ve learned the importance of being a good team member.
Our team members hold a special place in our lives as we spend most of our day with them. Even while being this close to us, sometimes we have difficulty working with them. Why does this happen?!
You see, almost like in any relationship, we are bound to have some good and bad moments with our peers. But being a good team member is extremely important as it helps you achieve your goals. It is always good to have your team backing you up at any given time. This is not just for when you’re in the company but when you move out as well. I’ve learned this the hard way. I’ve been way too friendly with my teammates in the past, which resulted in some mishaps later. Or I’ve been too uptight and missed many golden opportunities.
Okay, I understand it’s very difficult to strike a balance and be calm and composed in every situation. But at the same time, it’s important to be smart enough to tackle any kind of stressful situation and always ready to give a hand to your teammates.
You never know who you’ll be meeting and who is connected to whom. So, it’s better to be on good terms and grow professionally in an ethical way!
What’s the Meaning of a Good Team Member?
A good team member is someone who not only grows professionally but also bonds with their teammates so that working a project together effectively. It’s essential to have certain soft skills especially professionally. Whether it is listening to your peer or communicating with your co-worker or handling a tough situation, your skills help you have a smooth professional life.
A good team member is someone empathetic and willing to support their team while respecting the boundaries and also sharing their expertise to run the team smoothly.
So, to be a good team member, you need to have certain soft skills that are essential on a day-to-day basis, such as supporting your team and having trust in each other.
Why is it Important to be a Good Team Member?
In my initial professional life, I didn’t have to collaborate with others much. It was more of an individual job and I was really happy about it as I was an introvert. But as I changed my organization, I wished I had networked better and kept in touch with my ex-colleagues. There were many excellent opportunities for learning and growing and I had no idea how to reach back to them.
Well, it’s okay to reconnect via LinkedIn or other social media by just saying, “Hi” or “How are you?” or “What are you up to these days?”. I was very shy and didn’t want to sound desperate. But I was wrong, many of my ex-colleagues have texted me and complimented me on my articles and we chatted and stayed in touch. I have even got many opportunities to work with great organizations because of networking.
This is a small example of how little things matter in professional life. So, it’s important to be a good team member not only for your present professional life but for your future as well. It doesn’t matter if you’re working for a company or you’re going to start your venture, you need your teammates and also a good experience for yourself to handle a good professional life.
How Will Being a Good Team Member Help You?
It’s important to be a good team member to be effective with your work by bonding with your teammates. When you share ideas and responsibilities with your teammates, it reduces the stress and anxiety of everyone allowing them to be thorough while completing a task. Being a good team member also helps in having a great day at the office every single day.
Whether you’re an introvert or you find it difficult to cope with your teammates, you need to figure out how to overcome these hurdles and be an effective and good team member. Let’s be real – from entry-level workers to managerial level, everyone has to work with others to achieve goals. Even a simple team like housekeeping needs to work as a team to maintain the smooth functioning of the office decorum. Yes, if you notice, every little detail matters, right?!
For example, when working on a project, instead of keeping the team in the loop, if you go ahead and make your own decisions and finalize things with a client, you’re not giving importance to your colleagues. This is considered rude. Well, maybe you trust yourself the most and you’re confident enough to get the work done all by yourself, but this may harm your career in the long run.
I have done this initially in my career and tend to do so now, too. But remember it’s always easier when you divide your tasks. I, too, remind myself that in my freelancing journey, and seek help when required. This makes my job much easier and more convenient.
Imagine even in your personal life, you need to have certain soft skills, like when meeting new people at weddings or deciding a place for dinner when going out with friends. You will have one person who tries to control the decision or you have to negotiate with others about why your decision is more convenient. Or even you have to let go of your decision without feeling bad. Well, similar scenarios may happen at work, too.
Qualities of a Good Team Member
As a team member, here are a few characteristics that define a good team member. Let’s check ’em out!
1. Work Prioritization
First of all, it’s very important to be up to date with your work. Whether you’re working at a tech company or a finance firm or a creative organization, understanding your role and prioritizing your daily tasks is important. Of course, you can help other team members, but you know your boundaries.
Collaborating not only makes you a good team member but also makes your and your teammate’s job easier. Whether it’s ideating, creating a work culture, or routine, you love collaborating with your team members. Being a people person is your forte but you also know where to draw lines while helping others.
3. Positive Attitude
Having a positive approach toward any problem in the work process helps you in creating a better atmosphere at the workplace.
4. Being Accountable
You’re fully invested in your work and take responsibility for your mistakes and look for solutions.
How to Be a Good Team Member?
Okay, we’ve written enough about the importance of being a good team member. Let’s see how to be one. You may feel you’re a good team member and you may be one. But what if we told you being a good team member doesn’t limit you to having all the soft skills only? You need to have a knack for people, make decisions for yourself, and know what not to do.
There’s a thin line between having soft skills and being a good team member. Going by the books, yes communication, being accountable, negotiation and other skills are very important to classify you as a good team member. But on a personal level, you need more skills to tackle every situation, deal with people subtly without being rude, and push back on things that you know don’t work.
So, being a good team member is an amalgamation of being a great collaborator, a people person, and a valuable contributor in the decision-making process. But knowing your boundaries as per your role in the organization is also important. So, here are 8 tips to be a better team member. Let’s dive into it!
Good communication not only means communicating what you have to say but actively listening to what others say. Listening is very important when you’re working together. Always listen, interpret in your mind, and then speak out. This helps to maintain your relationship with your co-workers and connect with them. When you’re on the same wavelength, it’s easier to complete a task.
For example, when you’re in a meeting and everyone is pitching in ideas, it may get too chaotic. Always wait for your turn, listen to what others say, and maintain decorum. This makes you a trusted person.
2. Being Assertive
While listening to others and accommodating their point of view is great, it’s also important for your ideas to be heard. Be assertive and try to repeat yourself if someone’s ignoring you. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to be pushy. But try to use sentences like, ‘I understand your point and that’s great but here’s something that may be of additional help’. Try to communicate through team emails or during team meetings.
3. Initiate a Conversation
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” This quote holds so true for all the 9 to 5 job-goers, right? You spend most of your time with your teammates and if you don’t strike up a personal conversation here and there (at the least), where’s the fun I say?
Try to initiate a conversation in the morning as soon as you enter your desk. Try to have a good morning conversation about breakfast or how the weekend went or even about the latest movie. It doesn’t have to be too personal or about work but it can be something very general and light.
This helps you to break the ice with your teammates, especially if you’re a new joinee or you’ve been moved to another team or are promoted. Also, this kind of conversation helps you to work well together.
4. Have Lunch Together
One of the best things while working in the office is having our lunch breaks. It may sound very childish but come on that is the only time you get to enjoy yourself some time off work and discuss some fun topics. Try to have your lunch together and plan the time in advance. If you miss out on lunch, there’s always a tea break. Take a sip and try to connect personally. When you’re working, you seem to be a different person with deadlines, managers, completing your daily tasks, and more. But during these short breaks, you can connect with them at a personal level.
5. Don’t Take it Personally
There will be instances wherein your point of view won’t be taken into account and your ideas may be brushed off. A few times your requests may not be considered although you applied first. But what you need to understand is sometimes your manager or your colleagues may have unintentionally done these things. So, never take anything personally. Be a sport and appreciate your teammates’ efforts.
One of the biggest takeaways for me after working with multiple organizations and freelancing is not to take anything personally. Whether it’s about your ideas being criticized or feedback about your behavior, just remember that it’s about your professional life and not your personal life.
If you still feel that certain behavior or decision process wasn’t validated, have a small chat with your teammate. Try to discuss your point of view. Let it be a healthy discussion and if still the decision doesn’t favor you, it’s okay, let it go. You at least took the initiative to speak your mind, you were vocal about the betterment of the project, which makes you a good team member.
6. Initiate Team Huddles
It’s important to be on the same page while working with others. This is not only limited to creative companies but to every organization. It’s great if you are having a team discussion on a day-to-day basis. In the absence of your team lead, try to initiate team huddles by taking the lead. Also, if you have new ideas or if you find something very important like a helpful resource, make sure to call in for a small quick huddle and share your views.
7. Be a Fun Person
Who doesn’t love to have some fun while working, right?! Try to discuss funny incidents that happened to you before or with your co-worker. Crack a joke on yourself and have a good laugh. Try to be subtle and not go overboard as your teammates may always pull your leg 😉 and not take you seriously. Here’s yet another personal experience. In one of the companies, I worked for, I was this happy-go-lucky person and didn’t take things seriously. And I wasn’t taken seriously about my ideas, work, and increment. Oh, oh! Well, lesson learned.
8. Your Face Says a Lot
If there’s one thing that I have learned from my work experience is that ‘Actions speak louder than words’. I would say facial expressions speak a lot. Just imagine rolling your eyes when you’re in a long meeting or clenching your jaw when you’re frustrated with your teammate, it shows right there. So, hold on and maintain a neutral face and then respond by speaking. You don’t have to be smiling in every situation but try to have a calm composure always. And it’s okay to show certain emotions while being professional too. Instead of looking condescending, try to look patient, instead of looking angry, try to look kind.
9. Sharing is Caring
Well, a fun fact – did you know that Japanese people consider it to be rude if you won’t bring back a souvenir after your trip to a workplace? Yes, this culture is quite common in most parts of the world but it’s not mandatory to do so, right?! But this concept by the Japanese makes sense. When you’re away holidaying, it’s your teammates who worked and kept the boat sailing so they do deserve a little appreciation.
Try to get a small gift if you’re traveling, it can be a fridge magnet or a postcard and some chocolates. It may sound cliche but a little treat will make your teammates happy and motivates them to work for the day. If you’re visiting your home town, you can get some homemade food or sweets.
10. Be Appreciative
Try to appreciate others’ success. This makes you a good person and you’ll be very happy inside for giving a compliment. It’s important to be generous with your compliments to others as this will motivate them to work well in the future and also it’s kind of a mood enhancer. You never know, your few words of appreciation may help them to reach the next level. But keep them sincere. Do not throw out compliments just for the sake of it. There’s enough success for everyone in an organization.
What are the Traits of a Bad Teammate?
We cannot classify anyone as completely good or a bad person but certain traits make a bad teammate:
- They don’t get the point of deadlines. They work at their convenience even at the risk of others’ jobs.
- They are always demotivated and they spread this energy to others. They don’t want to be a part of team discussions and are inattentive during meetings
- Bad teammates may push down your ideas just to prove their point of view. Even if they’re wrong they try to dismiss your thoughts.
- They don’t get constructive criticism. They just ignore the fact that others have something to contribute.
- They feel jealous if someone’s work is appreciated. They may claim that it’s their achievement as they helped through the process.
How to Deal with Bad Teammates?
When working with a bad teammate, keep everything in writing. Use emails or messages for communication instead of calls so that you can point out them when necessary.
Personally, when I had to deal with a bad teammate, it was very difficult for me to convey my point and I was never credited for the amount of hard work that I was putting in. So, I had to be upfront with my then-manager that I didn’t want to work with this person as it is impacting my work. It took a lot of convincing and fact-checking and later we had our way.
It may not be easy to overcome such situations but speak out to someone trustworthy for any solutions or take it up with your higher authority. Always be mindful of not portraying any teammate as a bad person, but rather show why working with this person is not working out for both of you.
So, what can you do if you spot any of the traits?
1. Well, first of all, keep a positive attitude.
2. Try to avoid working with them if possible.
3. Never take anything personally but try to concentrate on your achievements.
4. Try to have a word with your co-worker or have a list of solutions in advance if something goes wrong.
Your approach towards your workmates and your attitude determine if others are loving to work with you. Also, remember it’s a process, you’ll learn along the way. Keep your goals in mind, work towards them, use your voice, and always be a welcoming person.
Hope you found this article helpful. Do you consider yourself a good team member? Which qualities do you already have? Let us know!
Read next: Being a Good Leader: 11 Management Lessons for Entrepreneurs
Sahana is a Senior Staff Writer at Shilpa Ahuja Media. With an experience in fashion, lifestyle and work-life writing, Sahana’s majority of works can be found at ShilpaAhuja.com. She’s a hardcore Bollywood fan and she loves to cover the nostalgic topics on the same.
Prior to her experience with ShilpaAhuja.com, Sahana has written as a freelance author for online magazine, Mashup Corner, and interned at EventsHigh as a content writer. Her blogs on basic fashion, makeup, fitness and city’s food joints that gave her a chance to experiment with her writing. She also has voiced her opinions about feminism and equal rights for men and women at PolkaCafe journals and after quitting her job, she decided to take up writing as her full time career.
Sahana is an engineering graduate and has worked in an MNC, Tesco, for more than a year as an Operations Support. It was her sheer love for fashion that made her quit the monotonous 9 to 5 job to pursue a career in the fashion industry.
She’s originally from Bangalore and is currently settled in Chennai (she’s loving the city)! For any queries and discussions, contact her at email@example.com or tweet her @Sahana_17.