Top 5 Characteristics of a True Team Player

Mon, Apr 30, 2012


Whether it’s at home or the workplace, life teaches that it is a lot easier on us when we learn how to be a team player. And while a lot of us have heard those pearls of wisdom before, sometimes we still have challenges in both our personal and professional relationships because we’re not completely clear on what that actually means.

Do you want to know that it takes to be a true team player? Here are five characteristics that everyone needs to win at working with others every time.

Good listening skills. A lot of conflict and confusion is centered around a lack of listening; not just hearing what someone says, but actually taking the time to “pause and process” what is being said and how they are saying it before offering up a response. When you make the time to be quiet while someone else is talking, it’s basically like saying, “I respect what you have to say.” That alone can bring about a calm and confidence in the individual you’re interacting with to want to extend to you the same courtesy.

Willingness to work with others. In other words, be willing to compromise. Sure, you may have a good idea and even a great way to execute it. But when you work alongside a group of people, chances are, there are many others who feel the exact same way as you do. You must be willing to be flexible, all the while remembering that you’re not doing what’s best for you, but for the entire team. Sometimes that means making some concessions so that there can be progress.

Courtesy. Remember when we were taught to say, “Please” and “Thank you”? Remember when mom said that people get on the defensive when they are being yelled at? Remember how you felt when someone spoke to you in a patronizing way? All of these lessons centered around two words “common courtesy”. Unfortunately, it’s not as common as it used to be, but when you’re dealing with others, remember that being polite is simply about showing good manners and treating others just as you want to be treated.

Problem-solving abilities. Human resources is a fan of anyone who can develop this particular skill. That’s because when someone is solutions-oriented, they tend to have a positive attitude, think outside of the box, and they’re not satisfied until some kind of resolve has been reached. When you’re working with a team, challenges are bound to arise, but a good team player isn’t focused on the problem. Instead, they are committed to finding a solution.

Encouragement. Whether it’s on a personal or professional level, people need to feel like when they’re working with a team, they are working with a group of people that are on their side; people who have their back. One of the best ways to convey this message is to be someone who is both supportive and encouraging. When a good thing happens, be excited about it. When something not-so-great occurs, be the first one to provide the “silver lining to the cloud” or the “glass half full” perspective. When you people are in a “we can do it” atmosphere, you’ll be amazed at how much can actually get done.

Jamie Byers writes for www.MidwestHR.com which offers innovative HR solutions to organizations that are focused on productivity, profitability, and growth

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