Being a part of a team can be one of the most rewarding and/or most frustrating experiences depending on the leadership involved. However, I’m pleased to share with you proven ways YOU can be a successful part of a team!
Are you ready? I ask, because you have to take a deep look within yourself to see whether or not you’re part of the problem or the solution.
First, let me share with you a personal story about how I learned about my role in being a part of a team. It was early on in my career, I thought I was the best thing since bottled beer. I was smart, hard working, but lacking in a necessary component of being a good team player. That component? Simply put, understanding everyone around me. You see, I thought “I’m a person, they are people, so we must be the same right? NOPE!
Here’s the problem: I thought, that by making suggestions to my fellow teammates on how they could perform their jobs better, I was helping them. So, I thought, “I’m helping them become better at what they do, so I must be a good teammate” right? WRONG!!!
My supervisor at the time, and at my personal request, was completely honest with me during my annual review. She said “Do you really want to know what the guys think of you?” I said smugly, “I know they love me right?” WRONG again! She proceeded to share with me my team thought I was an arrogant, condescending, you know what. “Huh? How could they?” I thought. My defenses immediately went up and said “Well, that’s their problem – not mine!” WRONG again!
You see, my intentions were good, but the execution or deliverance of my intentions was being sorely misunderstood. In a nutshell, I made them feel stupid rather than empowered. Here are the key concepts to keep in mind if you want to be a good team player:
- Evaluate your expectations
- Just because you think it should be like you see it, doesn’t mean its right. We have to adjust our expectations to be realistic for the situation
- Seek first to understand – then to be understood
- If I had really understood what they were doing, how they were feeling, what challenges they were up against, I might have handled myself more carefully. We never truly know what someone else is going through unless we ask, and more importantly, listen!
- Happy or right?
- Most of us are brought up to think “Right is good and wrong is bad.” Therefore if I’m not right then I’m wrong and won’t get the appreciation, respect, or inclusion in whatever we’re a part of.
- This is the BEST relationship advice I could ever give you – next time you’re in a difficult situation, ask yourself “Do I want to be happy or do I want to be right? In other words, win the battle, but lose the war. I was brought up to always make dang sure I was right.
- So, when you’re right, what does that make other people? Wrong! Then, if they feel wrong, what might they do? Of course, defend themselves! What happens then? Arguments, disagreements, sides are drawn, and the team morale negatively suffers.
- Q.T.I.P and D.C.Y. Two ears – one mouthListen, really listen more than you talk. This goes back to understanding more than telling.
- Quit Taking It Personally
- Often, we take too much personally. We let it infect our soul and we expect we must make it right! Sometimes, we have to let it roll off our shoulders like water off a duck’s back. Let it go! Don’t take on something you may not be able to change or even make worse.
- Don’t Concern Yourself
- Again, keeping with this theme, don’t worry about what so and so is doing or not doing. “Well they should be doing this and that!!!” That’s your expectation and sometimes not your problem.
- Quit Taking It Personally
- There’s a reason why we have two ears and only one mouth
- When you listen, paraphrase, or repeat back what you understood. This lets the person know you truly cared enough to listen and understand
Ultimately, like I said before, too often we look at what everyone else is or isn’t doing. They aren’t meeting our expectations and we seek to make things right. Instead, look inside yourself to see if perhaps you’re more part of the problem than the solution.
If you have a particular teamwork situation you’d like my advice on, please don’t hesitate to email me at [email protected]
All my best until next time,
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