5 Ways to Make Yourself an Even More Effective Team Member

effective team memberYou have a team and network of people for good reason; an effective team member provides support when necessary.

Many of us enjoyed watching extraordinary teammates in action at the Rio Olympics last summer. These teammates worked as one to complete swimming relays, toss balls into baskets and over nets, and propel boats forward. Their trust and respect for each other was so great that they seemed to read each other’s minds and take each other’s victories and failures as their own.

They knew that their greatness depended on each other.

Teamwork brings individuals together in a coordinated effort to work towards a common goal. While most of us are not Olympians, we do work in different types of teams. Here are five actions you can take to become a better team collaborator, inspire your teammates, and help your team become high performing.

1. Hold Yourself Accountable

“Individual commitment to a group effort. That is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” – Vince Lombardi

Accountability is fundamental to being a great teammate. Do what you say you’re going to do when you say you’re going to do it. Take responsibility for your work and deliver high-quality results on time. If you can’t meet a deadline, inform those who are waiting for your work as soon as possible. Don’t make your teammates or other stakeholders chase you down; this means more work for them.

Action checklist:

  • Follow through on what you promise to do.
  • Deliver a high-quality work product.
  • Accomplish the tasks assigned to you on time.

2. Support Your Colleagues

“It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.” — Napoleon Hill

As a supportive, effective team member, you give your colleagues what you can to help them do their best work. This can be emotional support, teaching them something that you know, and/or sharing constructive feedback to help them grow. When you see the opportunity to support your teammates, do so. And don’t forget to ask them for help when you need it.

Action checklist:

  • Share information clearly and in a timely manner when it affects your colleagues’ work.
  • Offer positive and constructive feedback to the leader and other members.
  • Support the leader and other members to accomplish the team’s goals.

3. Put the Team First

“If a team is to reach its potential, each player must be willing to subordinate his personal goals to the good of the team.” — Bud Wilkinson

With a “we” mentality, you work to ensure the team’s goal is clearly defined and collectively shared. So when it comes to critical decisions, everyone can act in the best interests of the team. Instead of trying to be the best or get the credit, take initiative to do what it takes to help the team accomplish its goal. This may mean stepping in where you see a gap or setting your tasks aside for the time being. The team’s success is your success, too.

Action checklist:

  • Understand the goal of your team and how you can help achieve that goal.
  • Share credit with teammates because it takes a collective effort to accomplish great work.
  • Recognize the needs of the team and volunteer to perform tasks that need to get done.

4. Listen and Learn

“None of us is as smart as all of us.” — Ken Blanchard

Every effective team member is crucial to the success of the team as a whole, and every team member deserves to be heard. Each person has a unique contribution and perspective. Listen to your teammates to understand what their needs are and why they feel or think the way they do. Reserve judgement, identify your biases and see what you can learn from your teammates.

Action checklist:

  • Actively listen to your colleagues’ ideas and avoid making snap judgements.
  • Be open to changing your position based on the ideas of your teammates.
  • Invite others to question your thinking.

5. Be Positive and Respectful

“We are not a team because we work together. We are a team because we trust, respect and care for each other.” — Vala Afshar

A positive attitude makes you a better team member. Feelings of gratitude and respect lift team spirits, create trust, and allow space for vulnerability and making mistakes, crucial ingredients for growth. In addition, studies find that a culture of positivity is more productive as reflected by increased customer satisfaction and a greater bottom line.

Action checklist:

  • Treat each person with warmth and respect, honoring the unique individual they are.
  • Manage your emotions at work and find constructive outlets for them.
  • Avoid complaining and expressing emotions that might negatively influence others.

Like the best athletes, it’s important that we strive to better ourselves not just for us, but for those around us.


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Business Collective!


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