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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

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Robert Locke

Freelance writer

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

If you’re going to spend 1/3 of our life at work, you should enjoy it, right?

Trust me, I know that’s easier said than done. Difficult coworkers, less-than-desirable tasks, or even just being in the wrong position can all lead to a lack of enjoyment and fulfillment in your work.

But what if I told you it doesn’t have to be this way? Or better yet, if you struggle with all of the above (and then some), what if I told you that enjoying your work and finding fulfillment regardless of those obstacles is possible?

Don’t believe me? I don’t blame you because I was there too. Before implementing the tips below, I struggled to get through each day, much less find real fulfillment, in the office. Now, even after the toughest days on the job, I still come away with feelings of pride, accomplishment, and fulfillment. The best news is, so can you.

If you’re ready to make those hours count and find happiness and fulfillment in the office, then read on to find out how to be happy at work and find fulfillment in your career:

1. Discover the root(s) of the problem

For this first step, we’ll need to think back to 8th-grade physics (humor me). We all know Newton’s 3rd law, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” When you think about it, the same can be said outside of physics, and we see this law play out in our daily lives, day after day.

Simply put, all the issues we deal with in the office (and life in general) affect us in a noticeable way.

If you’re appreciated at work, like the work you do and receive frequent praise, promotions, or raises, then this will probably have an altogether positive effect on your life in the office.

But what if we reverse this? What if you feel under appreciated, get passed up for promotions, or get denied raises? This is sure to affect the way you feel at work on a negative level.

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So, before you can implement the steps of feeling happy and fulfilled at work, we first have to discover the reasons why you don’t feel that way already.

Think about it, write a list, or make a mental note. Run through all the reasons you’re dissatisfied in the office, and don’t hold back. Knowing the exact obstacles you’re facing will make overcoming them that much easier.

In fact, as a side-challenge to this article, I recommend picking the top three reasons contributing to your dissatisfaction at work and using the following tips to tackle them.

2. Practice gratitude for an instant uplift

Did you know the simple act of feeling grateful can increase your happiness and make you more fulfilled at work?[1]

Well, it’s true, and it’s scientifically proven.

Dr. Lisa Firestone notes that practicing gratitude “reminds us of what we lacked in the past.” Meaning, it serves as both a boost to happiness and a bit of a wake-up call that things have been or could be, much worse.

Trying to conjure up feelings of gratitude can seem almost impossible when your work situation seems bleak, but hear me out: There are incredibly easy ways to get started and it doesn’t involve trying to “force” yourself to feel grateful about things that stress you out.

For an instant pick-me-up, try this:

Find a loose piece of paper, a blank sticky note, or anything you can write on, be it physical or digital. List just three things that you are absolutely without-a-doubt thankful for in your life.

Now here’s the trick: Don’t just list what you’re grateful for, you have to list why you’re grateful for them, too.

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For example, simply saying “I’m grateful for my kids” will probably make you feel good, sure, but what if we could amplify the warm, fuzzy feeling into real, lasting motivation?

Instead, write the reason you’re so thankful for your children. Is it because they make you laugh and forget about other stressors? Or maybe they help to remind you of why you go to work every day in the first place?

Whatever your reasons may be, jot them down and keep your list somewhere you can see it while you work. A quick glance at your gratitude list throughout the day can provide powerful, positive motivation to keep going.

Bonus:

If you can find just three things to be thankful for that specifically relate to your job, and list why those things make you grateful, your list can also help you find fulfillment in your work itself which can give you an even bigger boost of positivity throughout the day.

3. Take meaningful time for yourself

We all know creating a strong work-life balance can be crucial to feeling satisfied in our jobs, but rarely do we ever address how we’re spending our time outside of work.

Many of us survive a 9-hour work day and commute home only to find ourselves busy with our personal to-do lists, running a household, and taking care of a child (or 2 or 3, and so on).

If you spend all your time working, whether in the office or within your household, you’re going to feel drained at some point. This is why setting meaningful time for yourself every day is highly important.

Look, I get it: I don’t know anyone in the working world who can shun all responsibility for a 3-movie marathon or happy hour with friends whenever they feel like it. But finding time for yourself, be it just 30 minutes to an hour, can really make a difference in how you feel at work.

This works because you’ll have time to actually relax and let the day’s stress melt away while you enjoy something just for you. The to-do lists and stressors will still be there after you’re refreshed and ready to tackle them.

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No time for me-time? Try this:

If you have a busy household, you’ll need to capitalize on a block of time you know will be completely uninterrupted. The easiest way to do this: try waking up 30 minutes to an hour earlier than usual (or push bedtime back an hour if you’re a night owl, like me) and take time to do something you enjoy.

This could be reading with a cup of tea, catching up on Facebook, spending time on a passion project—anything! As long as it’s meaningful to you, it works!

Bonus:

Starting your day with meaningful time for yourself can set you up to have a positive mood that lasts well into office hours, and having your me-time in the evening can give you something positive to look forward to during the day.

4. Get productive and feel accomplished

Don’t you just love the feeling of checking the last item off of a hefty to-do list? That’s because self-motivation can be a huge driver of positivity and success.

When we accomplish something, no matter how small, it makes us feel good, plain and simple. Applying this tactic to your daily work can be the motivator you need to find fulfillment during the daily office grind.

While there are tons of steps to get more done at work, I’ll share my personal favorite: Prioritizing.

Now, many people handle prioritizing differently. Some like to tackle the little tasks first so they can spend focused time on the big to-dos. Others like to knock out the big items first and get to the smaller ones when they can.

No matter which camp you’re in, you may be missing one crucial step: Time management.

So how’s this work? When you factor in the amount of time your priorities will take, it can transform your productivity ten-fold.

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Say you have three top priorities for the day. You might jump into the smaller ones or the bigger ones depending on your preferred method, and then find yourself out of time and bringing work home with you at the end of the day.

This is prevented when you factor in time. Knowing how long each item will take, or deliberately setting specific blocks of time for your priorities can help you accomplish more in the same 8-9 (or 12) hours that you typically spend at work.

Try this:

Take a look at your priorities and consider how long they should take. Pop into your Google calendar (or Filofax, whatever works for you) and schedule time to work on your priority items around any important meetings or events of the day.

The most important thing to remember is to stick to your dedicated time.

Often, when we know exactly how long we have to work on something (and honor this time limit), we’re motivated to get more done on time to avoid taking work home at the end of the day.

The bottom line

There’s no need to waste 1/3 of our lives feeling unsatisfied at work. Luckily, you now have the tools to get started, take back your time, and become happy and fulfilled at work again.

The only question is — which tip will you try first?

Featured photo credit: Ellyot via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Psychology Today: The Healing Power of Gratitude

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