I think at one point or another in our lives, we have all been members of a team. It may have been kickball in grade school, or in my case the military. Keeping in mind that we don’t always get to choose our “Team Mates”, but if you were choosing members for a team, who would the best team mates be? Assuming that people have the ability to achieve the common goal, what other factors would you use to select your team members?
This came to me over the weekend, so I spent some time writing them down one at a time and added a quick blurb about why they were important. I am sure there are many more, but I limited it to what I thought was the ten best.
We will look at the first five this week. And we will look at five more next week.
- They need to be reliable — You can count on a reliable team member who gets work done and does their fair share, and when necessary more than their share. He or she follows through on tasks. You can count on them to deliver good performance all the time, not just some of the time, consistently.
- Communicates constructively and effectively — Teams need people who speak up and express their thoughts and ideas clearly, directly, honestly, and with respect for others. That’s what it means to communicate constructively. Such a team member does not shy away from making a point but makes it in a positive, confident, and respectful manner.
- Listens actively — Good listeners are essential for teams to function effectively. Teams need members who can absorb, understand, and consider ideas and points of view from other people without debating and arguing every point. Such a team member also can receive criticism without reacting defensively. Most important, team members need the discipline to listen first and speak second so that meaningful dialogue results.
- Functionality, the team functions as one — Good team players are active participants. They come prepared for meetings and listen and speak up in discussions. They’re fully engaged in the work of the team and do not sit passively on the sidelines.
Team members who function as active participants take the initiative to help make things happen, and they volunteer for assignments. Their whole approach is positive: “What can I do to help the team succeed?”
- Learn and Teach — Good team players share. They’re willing to learn and teach each other. They take the initiative to keep other team members as sharp as possible, “As iron sharpens iron…..” Much of the communication within teams takes place informally. Beyond discussion at organized meetings, team members need to feel comfortable talking with one another.
Good team players are active in this informal sharing. They keep other team mates in the loop with information and expertise that prevents surprises, and mistakes.
What are your thoughts on these first five characteristics of a good team mate? What ones do you think will be in the next five?
Photo credit: sagebrush photography / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND
Photo credit: joménager / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND
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