5 More Qualities that Make an Effective Team Mate

Teamwork 20130528Last week I gave you 5 Qualities that Make an Effective Team Mate.  I said, I think at one point or another in our lives, we have all been members of a team.  Would you agree?

This week I want to round out the topic and give you 5 more qualities that I think are important in a team mate.

    1. Cooperation — Cooperation is the act of working with others and acting together to accomplish a job. Effective team mates work this way by second nature. Good team mates, despite differences they may have with other team members concerning approach and technique, find ways to work together to solve problems and get work done.
    2. Exhibits flexibility — Teams often have to deal with changing conditions — and often create changes themselves. Good team players roll with the punches; they adapt to ever-changing situations. They don’t complain or get stressed out because something new is being tried or some new direction is being set.
      In addition, a flexible team member can consider different points of views and compromise when needed. They don’t hold to a point of view and argue it , especially when the team needs to move forward to make a decision or get something done. Strong team players are firm in their thoughts and open to others — flexibility at its best.
    3. Is committed (to the team) — Good team mates care about their work, the team, and the team’s work. They show up every day with this care and commitment up front. They want to give a good effort, and they want other team members to do the same. Usually this attribute is contagious.
    4. Works as a problem-solver — Teams, of course, deal with problems. Sometimes, it appears, that’s the whole reason why a team is created — to address problems. Good team players are willing to deal with all kinds of problems in a solutions-oriented manner. They don’t simply rehash a problem the way problem-dwellers do. They don’t look for others to fault.
      Team players get problems out in the open for discussion and then collaborate with others to find solutions and form action plans.
    5. Treats others in a respectful and supportive manner — Team players treat fellow team members with respect — not just some of the time but consistently. In addition, they show understanding and the appropriate support of other team members to help get the job done. They don’t place conditions on when they’ll provide assistance, when they’ll choose to listen, and when they’ll share information. Good team players also have a sense of humor and know how to have fun (and all teams can use a bit of both), but they don’t have fun at someone else’s expense. Quite simply, effective team players deal with other people in a professional manner.

Are we being good team mates? Are we reliable, listening, and communicating effectively? Does someone want to join our team? Are we leading all of our team members correctly? Are we cooperating with the team, and focusing on common goals? Do any of these things ring true in your life? I know the do to me, I have two friends who are sometimes on the team, and sometimes not, are my teams goals changing or are theirs?


Photo credit: Mads Høgstedt Danquah / Foter.com / CC BY-NC
Photo credit: TxSportsPix / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

On Any Given Sunday

NFL FootballI am doing something this year that I have never done before.  I am participating in a fantasy football league.  It is an odd thing really.  I don’t particularly care for professional football.  But that is the subject for another time.

Currently I am in sixth place out of a league of ten teams.  I am diligently trying to set my roster in such a way as to give me the greatest chance of success.  A very good friend is managing another team.  He is in last place.

And here is the odd part.  One of the teams really isn’t being managed at all.  In fact, the team was selected randomly and the roster has not even been tweaked since the opening weekend of football.  He has made zero, zilch, nada changes to the roster.  And that guy’s team is in seventh place!  So you see, I am only slightly better than a team that was picked at random and is running on autopilot.

Now what does this little story have to do with leadership?

It has to do with a certain saying or cliche in our culture and in the football world.  The saying in professional football is “On any given Sunday, any team can beat any other team.”  That is a paraphrase.  But it is close enough.  The thrust of the saying is that it is quite possible for even a less skilled or talented team to beat a better team.  Mostly that is due to some random acts of weather and referees and how the ball tumbles and fumbles.  And my little fantasy football league at work certainly bears that out.  In fact the totally random team has a better record than 2 other teams that are trying very hard to compete and win each week.

So, as coaches, managers and leaders do we just let things happen by the luck of the draw?  Do we just stand on the sidelines and watch the game as though we are spectators?  If we do, we may not be in first place, but clearly we aren’t in last place.

No, I think this situation with the fantasy football is a bit of a statistical anomally.  I firmly believe that studying the opponent, fielding a well trained team and exploiting any opportunities or mistakes that the other guys make is a better formula for success than idle randomness.  And leadership is all about assessing the situation and leading a team to victory in an active and deliberate manner.

So, what do you think?