[Work Advice] A Better Team Player

Random Observation/Comment #331: You can’t expect to do everything yourself. It’s impossible to know all the intricacies and even more impossible to juggle all the tasks.  This is why we have teamwork – we need the collective strength and synergy between team members so the powers combined will make 1+1=3.

teamwork :)

teamwork 🙂

How do you become a better team player and effectively lead within the team?  There are 3 main qualities of a person that I believe will help earn the trust of your colleagues:

  • Transparency. Everyone has their own agendas. Some people want to get personal recognition, others may be affected by politics, and others are unmotivated and just doing the work given to them in JIRA tickets.  What’s important in this team is that everyone is on the same page and recognizes their strengths and specific contributions.  Make sure that, as a team member, you are being transparent with your personal agenda (or not have one at all).  Think in your colleagues’ shoes and approach the problem with everyone’s strengths in mind.
  • Reliability. Show that you take account for your actions and deliver what you’ve promised. Take on tasks with your full ability and stay true to those deadlines.  A reliable person is thorough with their work and helps those around them with a quest towards excellence.  It’s the underlying belief of the project and the value in its success that can make a great contributor, leader, and team member.  If you do not deliver on time, do not point fingers or make excuses, but instead, show progress and deliver a more thorough product.
  • Congruency. Treat everyone respectfully with the same attitude regardless of status.  Just because someone is an intern or less experienced, doesn’t mean their ideas will not at least encourage different perspectives or new questions.  Treating the team equally and not showing favors will help the team drive forward with more focus.

The main idea in all of these points is to disarm yourself from any ambiguity.  Be friends with your team and work with them instead of competing for recognition or one-upping the person next to you.  If the project delivers on-time and to-spec, everyone will be rewarded equally.  A well-functioning high performing team will face problems together and discuss solutions from all perspectives. There’s a healthy amount of debate and sessions leading to those rewarding “ah-ha” moments.  You’d be surprised how much work experiences improve when working with a motivated and capable team.

Remember: Take ownership of your work and take pride in your deliverables.  Trust colleagues and let them contribute their subject matter expertise to problems.  Encourage the team and contribute your own strengths (e.g. organization, documentation, diagrams, process drawing, GUI design, client contact, etc) into the project as to help the rest of the team do their work.  Best of luck!

~See Lemons Team Play