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10 Things Good Team Players Do Differently

10 Things Good Team Players Do Differently

If you think you are a good team player, you will have no problem at all in ticking off each of these 10 qualities. If you can do that, then you can confidently add ‘good team player’ to your resume. You will also be able to answer any questions in an interview regarding what this overused term means in the real world.

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” – Michael Jordan

1. They are always reliable

Totally reliable members are like gold. It was always first on my list as a manager. Delivering work on time, every time is priceless. I also knew that a reliable team player would be able to cope with setbacks without getting sidetracked.

2. They are not afraid of failure

The good team player will not regard failure with great terror. In fact, head hunters are now actively seeking out those employees who can clearly recount what went wrong with a project and what lessons they learned. This is the essence of Kathryn Schulz’s book, Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error.

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3. They share information

As a manager, I remember a colleague who guarded her territory like a tigress. She certainly was not a good team player, because she regarded other team members with suspicion, envy and resentment. She never shared information or facts she had learned.

Sharing information is vital to efficient problem solving. Team members make no assumptions about each other’s knowledge and the phrase, “I assumed everyone knew this,” is rarely, if ever, used.

4. They say what they think

Instead of slavishly accepting the manager’s instructions, a good team player will be able to ask questions and also make suggestions or express doubts. She or he can do this in a constructive manner. This new way of looking at team players is mentioned in the book by Glenn Parker, Team Players and Teamwork: New Strategies for Developing Successful Collaboration. 

5. They never dominate meetings

Good team players know instinctively that everybody should have their say and that there is no need to dominate. The team leader can invite everyone to voice their view so that there is some equity. As a rather shy middle manager at senior manager sessions, I actually hated this when it was done at our meetings. But I really appreciated the fact that the loud mouths and show offs were at least being restrained.

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6. They never give in to negative tendencies

Steve Jobs had a terrible reputation as a manager. He made people cry, was a bully and also drove his car without license plates so that he could park in places reserved for the disabled! But he was dedicated to top quality in every aspect of his work, from the personnel to the technology. He despised those with negative tendencies, which he saw as destructive.

“My model for business is The Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other’s kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That’s how I see business: great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.” – Steve Jobs.

7. They understand team dynamics

There will be times when the less extroverted team members (like me!) will need to work in solitude but still be able to communicate effectively and meet deadlines. The introverts will have a different working style and they will hate team-building exercises. The good team player recognizes this and does not see it as a negative factor. There are some fascinating insights on this in Sophia Dembling’s book called The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World.

8. They know when to say no

“‘No,’ is a complete sentence.” – Anne Lamott

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The good team player knows when to say no and how to say it. There may be pressures from management to multi-task or take on too much. There may also be time restrictions, an inappropriate skills match, or an impossible deadline. You know that being a people pleaser can only lead to more stress. You can say no beautifully and still be a committed and loyal colleague. ‘No’ is one of the best ways of remaining fully accountable.

9. They are adept at problem-solving

You can spot a great team player a mile away. He or she is the one who rarely dwells on a problem or seeks to blame circumstances and other people for not solving it. They are never satisfied with procrastination but prefer to get going and to resolve the issue as fast as they can by involving all the team members as well.

10. They go the extra mile

A good team player will rarely sit back and stare passively out the window. They know that there may be an element of taking risks when stepping outside their comfort zones. They know what is involved and are not terrified of failing but always willing to learn lessons and move on.

“It’s never crowded along the extra mile.” – Wayne Dyer

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How did you do? Do you feel absolutely confident that you can talk about what it really means to be a good team player in an interview? Let us know in the comments below.

Featured photo credit: Project Revolution Conference 2012/ US Embassy via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

How to Make a Career Change at 50 for Great Opportunities

How to Make a Career Change at 50 for Great Opportunities

Turning 50 is a milestone in anyone’s life, after all you are half way to 100! But seriously, turning 50 is often a time in life when people can sit back and take a look at where they’ve been and contemplate what the future holds.

Can you change careers at 50? It’s not uncommon for people in their 50’s to consider a career change, after all if you’ve spent 20 to 30 years in a career, chances are that some of the bloom is off the rose.

Often, when we are starting out in our 20’s, we choose a career path based on factors that are no longer relevant to us in our 50’s. Things like our parents’ expectations, a fast paced exciting lifestyle or the lure of making a lot of money can all be motivating factors in our 20’s.

But in our 50’s, those have given way to other priorities. Things like the desire to spend more time with family and friends, a slower paced less stressful lifestyle, the need to care for a sick spouse or elderly parents can all contribute to wanting a career change in your 50’s.

Just like any big life changing event, changing careers is scary. The good news is that just like most things we are scared of, the fear is mostly in our own head.

Understanding how to go about a career change at 50 and what you can expect should help reduce the anxiety and fear of the unknown.

What are Your Goals for a Career Change?

As in any endeavor, having properly defined goals will help you to determine the best path to take.

What are you looking for in a new career? Choosing a slower less stressful position that gives you more time with family and friends may sound ideal, but you’ll often find that you’re giving up some income and job satisfaction in the process.

Conversely, if your goal is to quit a job that is sucking the life from your soul to pursue a lifelong passion. You might be trading quality time with family and friends for job satisfaction.

Neither decision is wrong or bad, you just need to be aware of the potential pitfalls of any decision you make.

Types of Career Changes at 50+

There are four main types of career changes that people make in their 50’s. Each type has it’s unique set of challenges and will very in the degree of preparation required to make the change.

Industry Career Change

In this career change, a person remains in the same field but switches industries.

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With an industry change, a person takes their set of skills and applies them to an industry that they have no previous experience in.

An example would be a salesperson in the oil and gas industry becoming a salesperson for a media (advertising) company. They are taking their skill set (selling) and applying it to a different industry (media).

This type of career change is best accomplished by doing a lot of homework on the industry you want to get into as well as networking within the industry.

Functional Career Change

A functional career change would be a change of careers within the same industry.

For example, an accountant at a pharmaceutical company who changes careers to become a human resources manager. It may or may not be with the same company, but they remain within the pharmaceutical industry. In this case, they are leaving one set of skills behind (accounting) to develop a new set (human resource) within the same industry.

In a functional career change, new or additional training as well as certifications may be required in order to make the switch. If you are considering a functional career change, you can start by getting any training or certifications needed either online, through trade associations or at your local community college.

Double Career Change

This is the most challenging career change of all. A person doing a double career change is switching both a career and an industry.

An example of a double change would be an airline pilot quitting to pursue their dream of producing rock music. In that case, they are leaving both the aviation industry and a specific skill set (piloting) for a completely unrelated industry and career.

When considering a double career change, start preparing by getting any needed training or certifications first. Then you can get your foot in the door by taking an apprenticeship or part time job.

With a double change, it’s not uncommon to have to start out at the bottom as you are asking an employer to take a chance on someone without any experience or work history in the industry.

Entrepreneurial Career Change

Probably one of the most common career changes made by people in their 50’s is the entrepreneurial career change.

After 20 to 30 years of working for “Corporate America”, a lot of people become disillusioned with the monotony, politics and inefficiency of the corporate world. Many of us dream of having our own business and being our own boss.

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By this time in our life, we have saved some money and the financial pressures we had with young children have passed; so it’s a perfect time to spread our entrepreneurial wings.

Entrepreneurial career changes can be within the same industry and using your existing knowledge and contacts to start a similar business competing within the same industry. Or it can be completely unrelated to your former industry and based on personal interests, passions or hobbies.

A good example would be someone who played golf as a hobby starting an affiliate marketing website selling golf clubs. If you are considering an entrepreneurial career change, there are a lot of very good free resources available on the internet. Just be sure to do your homework.

Practical Tips on Making a Career Change at 50+

So you’ve decided to take the plunge and make a career switch in your 50’s. No matter what your reasons or what type of a career change you are embarking on, here are some helpful hints to make the transition easier:

1. Deal with the Fear

As stated earlier, any big life change comes with both fear and anxiety. Things never seem to go as smoothly as planned, you will always have bumps and roadblocks along the way. By recognizing this and even planning for it, you are less likely to let these issues derail your progress.

If you find yourself becoming discouraged by all of the stumbling blocks, there are always resources to help. Contacting a career coach is a good place to start, they can help you with an overall strategy for your career change as well as the interview and hiring process, resume writing / updating and more. Just Google “Career Coach” for your options.

I also recommend using the services of a professional counselor or therapist to help deal with the stress and anxiety of this major life event.

It’s always good to have an unbiased third party to help you work through the problems that inevitably arise.

2. Know Your “Why”

It’s important that you have a clear understanding of the “why” you are making this career change. Is it to have more free time, reduce stress, follow a passion or be your own boss?

Having a clear understanding of you personal “why” will influence every decision in this process. Knowing your “why” and keeping it in mind also serves as a motivator to help you reach your goals.

3. Be Realistic

Take an inventory of both your strengths and weaknesses. Are your organizational skills less than stellar? Then, becoming a wedding planner is probably not a good idea.

This is an area where having honest outside input can be really helpful. Most of us are not very good at accurately assessing our abilities. It’s a universal human trait to exaggerate our abilities while diminishing our weaknesses.

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Requesting honest feedback from friends and co-workers is a good place to start, but this is another area where a career coach can come in handy.

4. Consider an Ad-Vocation

Sometimes, making a career change all at once is just too big of a change. Issues like a severely reduced income, geography and lack of benefits can all be impediments to your career change. In those cases, you may want to start your new career as an ad-vocation.

An ad-vocation is a second or ad-on vocation in addition to your primary vocation. Things like a part-time job, consulting or even a side business can all be ad-vocations.

The benefit of having an ad-vocation is being able to build experience a reputation and contacts in the new field while maintaining all the benefits of your current job.

5. Update Your Skills

Whether it means acquiring new certifications or going back to school to get your cosmetology licence, having the right training is the foundation for a successful career change.

The great thing about changing careers now is that almost any training or certifications needed can be free or at very little cost online. Check with trade associations, industry websites and discussion groups for any requirements you may need.

Learn How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive.

6. Start Re-Branding Yourself Now

Use the internet and social media to change the way you present yourself online.

Changing your LinkedIn profile is a good way to show prospective employers that you are serious about a career change.

Joining Facebook groups, trade associations and discussion boards as well as attending conventions is a great way to start building a network while you learn.

Here’re some Personal Branding Basics You Need to Know for Career Success.

7. Overhaul Your Resume

Most of us have heard the advice to update our resume every six months, and most of us promptly ignore that advice and only update our resume when we need it.

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When making a career change, updating is not enough; this calls for a complete overhaul of your resume. Chances are that your current resume was designed around your old career which may or may not apply to your new goals.

Crafting a new resume emphasizing your strengths for the new position your looking for is key. There are many places that will help you craft a resume online and it is a service included with most career coaching services.

8. Know Your Timeline

There are a lot of factors when it comes to how long it will take to make the career change.

Industry and Functional career changes tend to be the easiest to do and therefore can be accomplished in the shortest period of time. While the Double Career Change and the Entrepreneurial Career Change both require more effort and thus time.

There are also personal factors involved in the time it will take to switch careers.

Generally speaking the more you are willing to be flexible with both compensation and geography, the shorter time it will take to make the switch.

Final Thoughts

Changing careers at anytime can be stressful, but for those of us who are 50 or above, it can seem to be an overwhelming task fraught with pitfalls and self doubt.

Prospective employers know the benefits that come with more mature employees. Things like a wealth of experience, a proven work history and deeper understanding of corporate culture are all things that older workers bring to the table.

And while the younger generation may possess better computer or technical skills than us, if you’re willing to learn, there are a ton of free or nearly free resources available to you.

Deciding on a career change at 50 is a great way to experience life on your own terms.

More Tips for Career Change

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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