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.
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.
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
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
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