Tips to become a happier and better team member

A happy work teamThink about the best colleagues you’ve ever worked with, the best team mates you’ve ever trained with, maybe a top team captain you admire. What do you like most about these people? Kind, hard-working, and good at bringing out the best in their team mates, might come to mind.

The best team members are admired for their good character traits – traits above and beyond their sporting or musical… ability/intelligence and hard work – qualities such as caring, generous and inspiring.

Likable, successful and hard-working team players have many advantages over their less successful/less admired team mates. High quality team members tend to be more likely to be selected for teams, and to receive promotions. Great team players also increase their chances of having good reputations, and being happily employed in jobs that they like.

Teams are in all areas of our community — in workplaces, sports clubs and music clubs, through to volunteer groups and neighborhood watch teams. A husband and wife working on a task together towards a common goal are also a team.

Whatever teams we’re in, read the ideas below to help become the best team players we can be.

  • Be the type of person who others would want to have on their team. Follow the tips below and read other people’s ideas in this area. Also read biographies of successful team players (in business, sport…) and talk to successful team members.
  • Treat others how we would like to be treated — with respect, courtesy, kindness, and so on.
  • Be warm, kind, caring, empathetic and tactful.
  • Bring out the best in our team mates. Use encouragement, kindness and praise rather than criticism and other forms of nastiness.
  • Praise team mates for small and large improvements.
  • Play fair, and respect the rules of the organization, team….
  • Be reliable. Do what we say we are going to do, do it well, and get it done on time. Build a reputation as a goal achiever.
  • Be effective, efficient, organized and punctual.
  • Don’t abuse (verbal and/or physical), belittle, tease, taunt, mock… our team mates. Avoid nasty sarcasm.
  • Don’t gossip. Gossip can give us a bad name, destroy trust, friendships, and so on.
  • Be loyal. This promotes bonding and mutual trust.
  • Develop a good reputation.
  • Work hard. Slack team members can get a bad reputation, and be less likely to be selected for a team. Hard workers tend to get more respect, are more likely to be selected for a team, get promotions, and so on. Effective and efficient hard workers – who get along well with their team mates – are assets in their organizations.
  • Don’t bear grudges. Let bygones be bygones. Forgive others, and treat each day as a new day.
  • Have an even temper. Tantrums, abuse, and so on, are unnecessary. Resolve disputes diplomatically.
  • Have good communication skills. Get help in this area, if necessary. Books, courses, articles… can be good sources of information.
  • Have great listening skills.
  • Listen to ideas for new strategies, ideas to improve the team, concerns about the group, and so on. Listen to all of the team members — from new/inexperienced members through to old/experienced members. Anyone on a team can have a good idea.
  • Be open and flexible with new ideas for the team. Ideas that can sound crazy at first may prove to be brilliant later on. Plenty of people throughout history – who are now labeled geniuses – were ridiculed by their peers for the geniuses’ novel ideas in their day.
  • Have a likeable personality. A cold, negative, aggressive… personality breeds a bad reputation, and the type of person people are unlikely to want to work with or for. But a warm, kind and cooperative nature, however, makes people want to work and train with us.
  • Whenever possible, sort out problems with the team/individual members before the problems get worse. Do this at the right time and place. In private is best.
  • Be gracious in defeat. Sore losers can embarrass themselves, others, and the team itself.
  • Don’t be over cocky, nasty, and so on, when our teams win. Braggers, “big heads”… annoy others. Win with grace and style.
  • Be honest and trustworthy.
  • Be respectful when we disagree with others. How would we like someone to react to us if that person thought our ideas were nonsense? Kindly.
  • Be gracious when both giving and receiving criticism. As the saying goes: “Be cautious with criticism, and lavish with praise.”
  • Don’t be dogmatic, a fanatic and/or a control freak.
  • Don’t be overbearing, offensive, too bossy, too judgemental….
  • As much as possible, don’t let our personal problems at home affect the team. Remember the wise saying: “Leave your troubles at home.” “Compartmentalize our lives”, so to speak. When we have problems in our private life, if we leave these behind when we’re in our teams, the happiness of succeeding/working in our teams can help us cope with our private problems.
  • Be patient, kind and empathetic with team members, especially those who are having problems. Be in a team long enough and we’ll all, at some time, have tough times that badly affect our performance. Look at the many elite athletes in the news who, at some time during their sporting career, have an injury that affects their performance.
  • Don’t expect from people more than what they can realistically achieve. Too many people expect totally unrealistic achievements from their team mates or colleagues. Be realistic and reasonable with our expectations and demands of ourselves and others.
  • Be transparent in decision making. Openness is appealing and welcoming; it also encourages discussion, participation, and new ideas to flow.

written by Nyomi Graef

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