Many companies encourage and expect employees to work in a team environment, whether they are working on a special project or in a department with other people. Work just gets done faster and more efficiently when individuals work in a team. Even colleges promote teamwork. The University of Phoenix, my university of choice for my degrees, promotes teamwork in every single class to get students used to working with others on a project and having the same stake in the project, no matter how good or bad some of the team members are.
Working in teams can be quite difficult for someone who hasn’t figured out how to do this yet. For some, it comes naturally. For others, it just doesn’t. No matter what type of team you are in or if you even like those you are put into a team with, it is always in your best interest to work well with everyone and put your best foot forward.
Here are a few qualities you’ll need to help you succeed in a team environment:
Be Respectful – Always, always, always be respectful of others on your team. Their ideas and suggestions are just as important as yours. Offering consideration to others’ will create a positive dynamic in the team and will allow the team to accomplish much more than it otherwise would. After all, we are at work – be and act professional. Set aside any differences and work on the project or situation at hand.
Actively Listen – Don’t just listen, actively listen…there’s a difference. You might ‘hear’ what someone is saying, but you may not hear their idea or intent. Actively listening means that you are absorbing and understanding what others are saying. Then, you’ll consider their ideas and weigh them with others’ ideas and suggestions to draw a conclusion. Listen and process what someone is saying before making a decision.
Be Flexible – Teams constantly change. Their dynamics change; their goals and directions change; and they change to suite the needs of the business. Someone who is flexible is able to change right along with the team without getting frustrated or stressed about the changes. Change is good and can sometimes produce great results.
Cooperate – Cooperating means that you are working with your teammates, not against them, and you offer your assistance to your teammates when needed. Maybe your idea wasn’t chosen. That’s okay…being a good teammate means that you will cooperate no matter what differences of opinion may happen.
Actively Participate – Be prepared at the team meetings and participate by giving your ideas and suggestions, be engaged in the meetings and the work, and take the initiative to take on tasks that you know you can complete.
Be Reliable – Ensure you make it to scheduled meetings and you complete your assigned tasks on time. Meeting your commitments, following-through on what you say you’ll do, and being consistent in your quality of work will let your teammates know that you are reliable.
Share Ideas – As with actively participating, sharing your ideas is necessary to move the team and project forward. Some ideas may be better than others, or maybe you see something that is flawed with the project plan that should be brought up. This can help reduce unnecessary work.