Everyone says they are a team player. But what does that mean? Here are some tips on becoming a better team player at your workplace

Every employer these days wants employees to be good team players. However, do you have any idea what the term means? Or is it just a quality you fill on your CV when applying for a job, but when thrown in an actual situation, you are at a loss on what to do?

The job requirements of today have drastically changed, compared to the last thirty years or so, according to a Harvard Business School professor, Amy Edmondson. This is because the past held more job security – job descriptions were set in stone, everyone knew their place, and they instinctively knew what they were supposed to do. However, for the employees of today, it is a whole different ball game – a mind that keeps innovating is the most valuable thing in an employee. That requires a different skill set – analyzing situations quickly, reflect, and learn as much as you can from the resources you have.

This does not spell doom for you if you have never thought of it before, however. There are certain skills that will help you to achieve a teamwork mindset, and they are: 

Creation of ground rules

If you thought that creativity thrives in disorganization, think again. That is a myth that needs to go away because chaotic surroundings can only do so much to increase creativity levels.

It implies that you need to set aside some time – through codifying it – for reflection, action, and new actions. In other words, be willing to learn from your mistakes every time. 

Making sure every person in the team participates

team participates

When in a meeting, it is very easy for the loudest voices to dominate all of the conversations. In the midst of the noise though, tape the whole conversation and you will notice something – the genuine questions that are to help in the job you are handling are actually very few.

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If you want to ensure teamwork in your organization, do not let this happen. Make sure that in a meeting, go round the room and give everyone a chance to speak and voice their opinions, and introduce an element of ‘equality in airtime.’ 

Leaders have an important role

important role

Every good change always starts at the top level. When there is a lack of cohesiveness in the lower levels, it is time for the leaders to take the reins. That behavior will go down to all the levels, and then all the company employees will be expected to follow this method.

Communication

At the center of great teamwork, levels are excellent communication. The secret of a cohesive team is one that regularly communicates very well, and this also involves each participant to be willing to receive criticism, getting feedback, receiving contradictions, and exchanging ideas. In fact, a study indicates that 86% of workers think that workplace failures are caused by a lack of collaboration in the workplace – make of that what you will.

That does not mean that all team members agree on everything, but even in spite of their differences, they can communicate well and commence in moving forward with their common vision.

How does this come about though? Clarity is one of these ways – the leaders set the methods and tones of communication in the team, as well as the frequency of communication and making sure everyone is on the same page.

Listening is also another under-appreciated skill, but so important – ensure you are listening to all the team members and their different perspectives before giving your own thoughts on the issue.

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Touching base is vital, especially for establishing friendships among co-workers. Encouraging sharing of information, huddles among the members of the team, and informal meetings make relationships grow. In addition, people should not wait for schedules regarding touching base – it is something that should happen frequently. You can also reach all the team members using different means (thank goodness for technology) such as email, phone calls, chat tools, and even face to face communication.

Do not assume others know exactly what you do

what you do

The assumption is the enemy of progress – literally. Many times, we tend to assume that some information we have is the best, so we do not share the information and that ends up making the team fail. And success in a team setting does not happen because of one person, it happens because of several people.

Avoid risking bad guesses in your job – always share the information you have, a good example being AR Addiction resources that always communicates information regarding what it does. 

Recognizing and rewarding employees and co-workers

employees and co-workers

The most satisfied employees are those that recognized by their organization. Recognition for your efforts goes a long way in helping increase motivation for your job. If you are an employer, make sure to take note – when you want your team to be strong, make sure you reward your employees. Keep in mind that this does not mean you must give monetary rewards, however. It can mean you take time to tell an employee they have done a great job in a previous assignment.

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Take breaks

This may seem counterproductive. However, you do not need to do team building activities when you are working actively. A secret of increasing productivity is taking breaks, which can assist you and the team to reevaluate team goals as required.

It does not need to be complicated – it can be something as simple as having a coffee break together, or picking up some snacks for the team as you go to work. Less formal settings tend to encourage freedom in communication (notice how uptight a formal conversation can be), as well as bonding among the members and the sharing of information. Even team meetings can be on foot to encourage freedom in speaking.

Final thoughts

Teamwork is a requirement that all employers seem to want in their employees, yet not all organizations and brands promote the idea of teamwork among their employees. However, promoting this idea is not as difficult as it may seem, and by using these tips there can be the better facilitation of communication.

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