Being a team player within an organization is extremely important. Not only does it show that you can play well with others, but it shows a willingness to go above and beyond what is being asked of you. Being collaborative shows taking initiative to help out where you are needed while exhibiting some skills you may not regularly showcase. But what are some good ways to be a team player?
First and foremost, show a sincere dedication to the work. Committing to the cause shows that you are serious about helping and giving 110%. Bring new ideas to the table, be active in creating the game plan, and help to carry that plan out. Be in it from start to finish, and do not walk away halfway through. One of the best ways to show commitment to the work is to do the research and be prepare. You want to be knowledgeable so that you can contribute to the project in a meaningful way.
Be adaptable. Flexibility also makes for a great team player. Be ready to lend a hand, even if it means stepping outside of your normal job description. I know this is easier said than done. We often get caught up in what we are responsible and not responsible for, and then we leave the rest to someone else. However, stepping outside of your comfort zone is an amazing opportunity to show off not only your skills, but willingness to be a part of something bigger than yourself. I once had a boss that frequently said “flexibility equals indispensability”; by being willing and able to adapt to change, you make yourself necessary for the business.
Active communication is essential in just about everywhere– in your personal life as well as in teamwork. Communication is comprised of both voicing your thoughts and opinions as well as actively listening to those around you. Sharing your thoughts and feelings on a project, process, or whatever you are working on, is key. You show that you are a proactive member of the team and not someone who sits on the sidelines. Listening to other team members is something to also keep in mind. You want your cohorts to feel that their opinions are valued just as much as yours. Stay engaged in what they are saying because they have some great ideas, too. They may think of something you did not and would be perfect for what you are working on.
Lastly, it is imperative to manage up. If you have a lot on your plate, it may be best to wrap up what you are working on instead of taking on a larger work load. Your team needs to have the confidence that you are going to put forth the effort, and if you cannot pull your fair share of the workload, then they need to know that, too. Self-awareness needs to be monitored, and, sometimes it is best to know if you would be more of hazard than a help.
Working as part of a team is a reality in the workplace. Henry Ford once said “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Work together is success”. Be that success and you will become indispensable.