By Donna L.Hatch Ph.D
Since teamwork is the third identified skill that transcends gender in the workplace, let’s take a serious look at the do’s and don’ts of what moves a team player from good to OUTSTANDING.
First, let’s examine some of the “don’ts” so we can end strong with the “do’s.”
To be an effective team member in terms of bonding and contribution you may want to consider avoiding some of these pit falls.
Don’t create a mental obstacle
· Have a positive belief about team work. Don’t create a negative mental image for yourself about the team. What I mean by this is that some people whether consciously or not, slip into viewing the team as an impediment rather than a working part of a greater mechanism.
· If you find yourself having that thought, or feeling this way towards your team… go back to step one in this series and communicate! What you believe impacts how you act, so if you believe the team is an obstacle your actions will validate your belief!
Don’t be THAT person
· Take on your share of the work! There is nothing more irritating about working on a team than finding yourself facing a lengthy “to do” list only to look around and see other team members coasting.
· Check in with the team lead and chime in at meetings letting others know you are willing and eager to carry your own weight. Offer to help others if they have more on their plate than you do.
Don’t shy away from conflict
· This is definitely one of my pet peeves. Conflict can only take on the energy that is given to it. If it is fed negative energy it gets bigger and can even get out of control, but if it is given positive energy and viewed through a working lens it can bring great things into focus.
· View conflict as an opportunity, because it really is! Conflict brings differing opinions and perspectives to the forefront. This allows the team a chance to mine different perspectives and arrive at a hybrid solution!
· When conflict arises, share the responsibility of resolving it as a team. Own it as a team! This alone can empower team efforts and create a powerful dynamic.
Now, let’s give the “do’s” some air time!
Do Reach Out
· Connect with other team members and share resources, information and knowledge. Be the person on your team to break down the silos of communication and share.
· Let others know you are there to support them. After all this is a team and team’s operate as a synergistic whole… not in isolation of one another.
Do Be Positive
· Challenge yourself to deeply listen to the contributions being made and develop responses that demonstrate your support.
· Model positivity through your language, actions and overall presence. Present with a “can do” attitude and bring upbeat energy to the table.
· Be the person on the team who is willing to tackle a problem by suggesting a brain storming session. Think outside the box!
· Above all, remember, moods ARE contagious, so check any bad mood at the door before your team gathering and challenge yourself to show up in a positive way!
Do Respect Team Boundaries
· Respect team boundaries, norms and standards. Know what they are and be the person who brings them up and develops them if they aren’t discussed. This helps give the team some substance and deepens the relationship individuals have with the team.
· Whether the meeting is virtual, via teleconference or in person, be on time! If information has to be repeated, people get irritated and time is wasted. In organizations, time is money so don’t waste either!
· Put your cell phone away and pay attention. Yes, I know we are working in the age of Millennials and cell phones are considered to be extensions of your own body parts, but have some respect. If others are talking or presenting they need your eyes… not the top of your head. Seriously, texting someone back or scrolling through your email can wait. And… if it can’t, let your team members know that right up front before the meeting even begins. It goes back to that communication thing!
One more “don’t”… don’t consider this an exhaustive list! These are mere suggestions to point you in a positive direction. I’m sure if you pay attention, you can develop other “do’s” and “don’ts” based on your own experience as a team player.
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