How to Be an Effective Team Player

How do you motivate your team to success, not as a team leader but as a member of the team? Here are some helpful pointers.

1. Be Responsible

  • When the opportunity arises, take up responsibilities that are outside the scope of your current role. Show people you are willing to work hard and learn more. 
  • When a task given to you does go wrong, whether or not the circumstances causing the failure were under your control, own it up. Never attempt to shift blame to another team member or to another team.
2. Coach
  • If you are good at something, coach and train another person on it. Giving out knowledge only enhances it, never reduces it. 
  • Show the ropes to a junior team member. Others will be more open to returning the favor when you need it.
3. Be Open
  • Encourage free-thinking and discussion. Never discount or ridicule another's idea. 
  • Take each team-member seriously. Never make presumptions about someone's ignorance or knowledge. 
  • When implementing another person's idea, don't criticize it every step of the way. Criticizing someone constantly will discourage the person and make them less open to giving suggestions again. 
  • Most importantly, you should be open to feedback. Never discount or whine about feedback on your work or performance. 
  • Don't rationalize or give excuses in response to feedback about your performance.
4. Be Generous
  • Give credit where it is due. And more importantly don't take credit for what is not your work. 
  • Never hold back on a compliment. 
  • Learn from others and their failures. It is imperative for sustained success that the team as a whole should not repeat the same mistake. 
  • Synergize and pool resources in critical projects. Ego and seniority should never stop a team from working towards an efficient solution. 
  • Offer to change shifts to help a team member leave early on his anniversary or emergencies at home. 
  • Offer to take up a shift that no one wants. When you display generosity and openness you will see it being returned by others.
5. Set an Example
  • You could complain and whine at every situation that can be improved. Instead take action to improve it.
  • Don't wait for others to set right something. You set an example by taking initiative. 
  • Never dish out dirty work that belongs to you, to someone else. By setting standards for a professional team, you will raise the bar for others.
6. Build Relationships

All that we discussed above is easy to do when we develop relationships at work place. We spend 8-10 hours of our waking time at work. It is natural to form friendships and forge relationships. But we might find it surprising that in spite of working 8 or more hours a day for 5 years with someone, we don't know their birthdays or whether they have children. To forge relationships:

  • Have a friendly disposition. Never abuse or insult another team member.
  • Never discuss someone behind his or her back. 
  • Never gossip.
The success of a team depends not just on its leader. It depends a lot on its members. So be an effective team player. 

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by Chitra Soundar

Chitra Soundar, born in India, currently living in Singapore is an IT consultant by profession. She has extensive experience in IT education and career guidance. Chitra is a member of Society of Singapore Writers and Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Her works have appeared in The Strait Times, the leading national newspaper of Singapore. Her articles have also been accepted for publication in NAWW's on-line journal. Many of her poems have been published in print and on-line magazines. Chitra currently freelances for the professional non-fiction market.


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