5 Insights on What it Really Means to be a Good Colleague and Co-Worker
Team player. Every interviewee has used it to describe the kind of employee they are, but once in the position, what does the phrase truly mean? Here are five characteristics of people who pull their weight, lift others up (psychologically speaking), and understand that their professional goals should enhance the larger ones of the organization. That’s a team player.
1. Being Part of a Team Means You’re as Good at Being the Star as You are Being the Last Player on the Bench
One of the best and most challenging aspects of being on a team is the variety of personalities that come together. Some employees need the spotlight, while some like being behind the scenes. Some are more prone to voicing their opinions, while other sit quietly and take in information. Being a team player is finding a balance: everyone will get their time to shine.
But when it’s not your turn, cheer on the leader of a respective project or the co-worker who comes through with a great idea or turns out to be the MVP at an event. Not only will it make them feel great, you’ll help build their confidence and empower them, which is a characteristic of a great team player – and a leader.
Equally important to being a great cheerleader is knowing when someone needs an extra boost. Pay attention to the demeanor of your co-workers. If someone seems stressed or down, ask if there is something you can do to help. Read here on finding ways to lift your teammates up. It’ll continue to help you grow your work relationships and make your team better.
2. You Can Take Criticism as Easily as You Dish it Out
It’s a lot easier to tell someone how he or she could do better than hear how you could improve. No one enjoys hearing that they’re not doing something right or could be doing better, but it’s important to listen to feedback, both positive and negative. Here are some tips from Forbes.com about taking professional criticism gracefully. Even if you don’t agree with what you’re hearing, listen, digest it, and let it help you be better the next time.
3. You’re Not Afraid to Share Information
The success of a team is largely dependent on communication. Whether it’s making sure everyone has the details of an event or passing along a contact, choosing to instead hoard information and relationships that could help ensure the success of an announcement or the dissemination of messaging holds your team back.
In any industry, there’s going to come a time when you are in a meeting and someone brings up a need for an external contact for a project or event. So being part of a team means sharing information – not keeping it for yourself. Have confidence in your relationships and commitment to your work. Passing along a phone number or e-introducing a co-worker to one of your contacts doesn’t mean you gave the contact away – you just gave the assist that helps move your team move towards its goals.
4. You Pitch in, Even if it’s not “Technically” your Job
In every job description, there is always a line that reads, “Other duties as assigned.” In every industry, at one point or another, you’re going to find yourself in a position where you’re asked to do something outside your responsibilities. If it helps your team or organization, do it.
Whether it’s mopping a floor of the entry to an event because dirt was tracked in during load-in, or schlepping boxes to hide them on the same occasion, there will come a time where a task needs to get done that doesn’t fall under one single person’s list of responsibilities. If it helps ensure success for your organization, be willing to step up, no matter what the task.
5. Be Positive, and Lead by Example
Nobody’s perfect and everyone has bad days, but try to have a positive attitude, especially when it comes to strategic planning meetings and event preparation. Especially when a large group is going back and forth on details and logistics, it’s easy to take the cynical route, but try instead to be the voice of reason who has faith in the team and its abilities. And when it comes to your tasks, pull your weight. By demonstrating that you’re on top of your tasks and doing your part to make your team successful, it may inspire others to follow suit.