Characteristics of a great team player

Effective teams require people with different strengths to work together in new ways and at greater speeds to achieve top-notch results.

What’s the bottom line?

Teamwork is everyone’s responsibility — and good team members can learn some simple things that will make them great team members. The following points outline seven essential characteristics of a team player and why they are important.

1) They Understand Their Role

Team members who work in organizations that have superior business results and high profitability and performance tend to be very clear about the specific expectations related to their roles. The expectations these organizations have for their people is not something they are willing to leave to chance. No matter what type of job each person has (or at what level they sit in the business hierarchy), they are expected to engage and contribute as vital members of the team.

2) They Embrace Collaboration

It’s essential that people in the organization know they will be called upon to join others in making important decisions and contributing new ideas. Change is the norm in business today, and people must now give even more of their talent and energy, communicate effectively with others, gain support for ideas, and create collaborative relationships across the organization in order for the business to be successful.

3) They Hold Themselves Accountable

Every individual on the team has an enormous effect on a team’s dynamic—and its performance. Individuals are ultimately responsible for deciding whether the team will be dysfunctional, functional, or high-performing.

4) They Are Committed to Their Team

At a fundamental level, every team needs competent and committed people. Leaders must be prepared to identify and appropriately address any obstacles related to the skills or commitment of their team members through training, coaching, performance management, or corrective discipline. If team issues aren’t dealt with early, the entire team will suffer. When others need help, every team member should be aware of those needs and willing to provide their support.

5) They Are Flexible

Team members also need to be flexible and collaborative. Every team will experience a conflict of some kind at some point. When talented individuals with different approaches, ideas, and skills are brought together on a team, some conflict will be inevitable. The most effective teams have members who actively seek out and include others in making key decisions and solving problems creatively. They understand that having a diversity of opinions leads to optimal solutions.

6) They Are Optimistic and Future-Focused

When teams perform at high levels, they view the future optimistically. Great teams approach their work strategically and anticipate the actions they can take that will add value to the overall business. They are innovative, entrepreneurial, and enterprising. They think about how their roles might look in the future, how their jobs might change, and what their customers will need down the line.

7) They Back Up Goals with Action

Everyone on the team should have a plan for developing their skills in areas that might not be natural strengths. Being an effective team member requires individuals to have the right frame of mind backed up by consistent actions. Effective team membership is characterized by how you think and feel about your role and the actions you take to support the team’s goals

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We say all this knowing that we’re all human, however. Sometimes, insecurity, jealousy, and old habits interfere with teamwork. Some people focus on the past and complain about everything. Some monopolize the spotlight, take all the credit, and put others down. Some are egomaniacs, victims, or power-driven competitors who operate inside the organization and put the team at risk.

At CMOE, we have helped hundreds of teams overcome these barriers by working to instill in every team member a sense of accountability for the team’s success. What makes you a great team player? Contact CMOE today to learn how we can help your team reach higher levels of performance.

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About the Author
CMOE’s Design Team is comprised of individuals with diverse and complementary strengths, talents, education, and experience who have come together to bring a unique service to CMOE’s clients. Our team has a rich depth of knowledge, holding advanced degrees in areas such as business management, psychology, communication, human resource management, organizational development, and sociology.

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