No company on the planet wants to hire someone who is not a good team player. However, understanding what to look out for isn’t the easiest task.
This article will get below the surface and demonstrate the qualities of a team player, what you need to look out for, and how your team will improve.
Just like in team sports, the whole should be greater than the sum of its parts, so if your team is pulling in different directions, your progress risks stalling. Some workers have that natural enthusiasm, able to pull their weight and throw themselves into projects whole-heartedly. However, there are some that will need a bit of a nudge.
As a manager, you can get your team seeing the bigger picture by making it clear how their role contributes. For example, using Kanban boards, each individual can envisage projects from start to finish and see how other tasks are dependent on their own. Kanban boards also work as a motivator throughout every project. As every task moves over into the “done” column, it is a visual representation of progress made.
One final tip on commitment — if you feel that an individual isn’t fully engaged, don’t immediately jump to the conclusion that they lack the qualities of a team player. The underlying reason could be something happening outside of work. Even if it is an issue within the office, it’s worth taking the time to discuss their hesitancy. This will give you the opportunity to respond directly to questions, give them a chance to be heard, and show an investment in your team.
It’s great to have a tight-knit team where everyone gets along with each other. However, if your team gets too comfortable, it can easily stagnate and you’ll fall behind your competitors. Therefore, one of the top qualities of a team player is to have that constant desire to improve processes, approaches, and technology.
In practical terms, this mentality can express itself in the use of automations to streamline tasks. When communicated correctly, automations are easy to implement in your team and can save individuals a lot of time or stress.
Similarly, kaizen strategy will look at tasks in a workflow and consider whether they are truly necessary. Slimming down bloated processes is a key part of kaizen efficiency, but it can come up against problems. If you don’t have a culture whereby everybody’s opinion is valued, those further down the chain of command won’t feel comfortable making suggestions. This displays how qualities of a good team player overlap and intertwine with others, such as clear communication.
There’s no replacement for honesty when working closely with other people. It bleeds over into being reliable and trustworthy which are two key components of any fruitful working relationship. Honesty is up there with the most important qualities of a team player because everyone can get on with their priorities without stressing about what another individual might do.
A lack of honesty is usually a sign of two things: temptation or fear. Temptations could include a tantalizing commission, a promotion, or something worse, such as passing company secrets to a rival. This is an insidious kind of dishonesty that has to be dealt with as soon as it is discovered.
Fear-based dishonesty is common in a hostile, micromanaged environment, where the predicted blowback from raising an issue can keep people quiet. Similarly, if there is not enough confidence in the team (which we’ll look at shortly), individuals could restrict themselves from saying what they really think.
Therefore, part of your team leadership should be creating an environment where people feel comfortable enough to be honest.
If you can’t get your message across to someone, you’re going to struggle to work well with them. This is why listening skills are among the most essential qualities of a team player.
Sure, most of us have the capacity to hear, but properly listening is quite another matter. Being able to fully understand instructions straight away can save you time by keeping everyone on the same path. Conversely, if an individual is distracted or already has an idea of what they want to hear, they can get to work, going in completely the wrong direction.
Listening is not one-way traffic, however. For a well-running team with good morale, managers need to take on board what their team tells them. This not only makes individuals feel valued, but you can pick up some great ideas that you might not have thought of otherwise.
Unlimited Users Free
Accountability is an application of honesty that deals specifically with responsibility. We’ve included it in our list of qualities of a team player because it stops things mysteriously falling through the cracks with doubts about who should be responsible. Accountable workers know that their actions have a ripple effect across the team, so they pull together to make everybody else’s life easier.
Individuals who show accountability will be happy to help out if it serves the greater interest. They ensure team collaboration by identifying neglected areas and volunteering themselves to take responsibility. When you have a team of accountable people, it stops the demotivating effect of one person shouldering the burden while others wash their hands of the situation. The resulting effect is that everybody in your team trusts and respects each other, which increases productivity.
Accountability isn’t just about when things go wrong, however. By being more involved in your projects, every team member gets more satisfaction when things go well, safe in the knowledge that they have a significant part to play.
In every aspect of your life, if you can’t identify an issue, you’re going to have a tough time solving it. It’s exactly the same in an organization. If your team is aware of their strengths and weaknesses, as well as the bad habits they can slip into, you stand a much better chance of running a tighter ship.
As one of the best qualities of a good team player, it’s ideal to hire new recruits that can already demonstrate their self-awareness. But don’t worry if you’re not convinced from the outset. Being self-aware is a skill you can teach in your staff, as long as they are willing to learn. Appraisals are ideal for getting the message across. Make sure to bring examples and focus on the positive rather than the negative and each individual can improve through understanding themselves better.
With frank, but caring conversations, you can guide your team to focus on what they’re good at, rather than trying to be an all-rounder. That way, you get the most out of every area with nothing holding you back.
Yes, we’ve just said that your workers should be aware of, and stick to what they’re best at. That’s a general rule, but in reality, you’re going to come up against situations where everyone will have to chip in and lend a hand. Flexibility is among the best qualities of a team player, because it allows you to adapt your strategy or make difficult decisions with confidence.
Some workers could see being asked to get out of their comfort zone as an overbearing request. However, your real team players will see every time they’re called upon as a chance to grow. Say for example your social media manager is on holiday and you need your designer to take over the role. You should want your designer to grab that opportunity with both hands, read up on best practices online, and bolster their skill set.
A well-planned, fluid communication stream means nobody is out of the loop and far fewer tasks are left in limbo. Although it can appear that communication skills come naturally, there are actually many ways you can improve them.
In onboarding and training sessions, introduce communication policies that your team can follow. This way, everyone knows what to expect and you won’t lose messages halfway through a project. For example, keep all work-related updates on the relevant task in your project management tool. This creates a record with dates and details that you can refer back to, and also sends out updates to everybody involved in the task. What’s more, you can create rules for what to include in updates, creating subsequent tasks where necessary.
Efficient communication isn’t just about smart policies though. Part of good communication is providing frequent updates — even if they’re bad. It’s always best to shift a deadline well in advance of the original plan, rather than leaving it until the last minute. So by showing good team leadership, you can create an environment where your team feels free to voice concerns, rather than staying quiet and allowing issues to snowball.
One of the most ideal qualities of a team player is the ability to collaborate. Most people feel like they’re experts in the area, but when the pressure is on, they can often leave their collaboration skills at the door.
Decision-making is one of the most crucial areas for fluid communication. Meetings can often turn into battles of ego with neither side willing to make any sacrifices or adapt to new practices. This puts the brakes on your progress as a team as you’re not all pulling in the same direction.
Even if you’ve hired a team eager for collaboration, it’s still your job as a manager to facilitate work. One easy way is by using cloud-based collaboration tools. With documents your team can edit simultaneously and clearly defined tasks with updates for all the relevant people, technology lays the groundwork for efficient projects. When working closely with other people, making good use of technology allows you to get the most out of your team collaboration.
It’s impossible to make bold, innovative changes without confidence backing you up. A lack of confidence among the team can lead to poor performance and a lack of coherency in the office.
Don’t be fooled: we’re not talking about arrogance here, nor do we mean reckless decision-making. Confidence is that perfect balance of self-esteem that quells the kind of doubts and passive-aggressive behavior that comes with uncertainty in your abilities.
We’ve included confidence in our list of qualities of a team player because these people are open to taking constructive criticism rather than interpreting it as a personal attack. Therefore, in a confident team, you can make a difference much quicker than with an unconfident team. Without the burden of uncertainty spreading throughout your team, you can get into that flow state much more easily.
Like with most of the qualities on this list, while people can be either naturally confident or unconfident, there are still ways you can elicit a positive reaction. For example, you can use appraisals to focus on achievements, offer support, and delegate responsibility.
Now you have seen our 10 essential qualities of a team player and why they are so important for your business. But not only that – you’re equipped with some tips and tricks to improve those skills in your team.
However, it’s so much easier for these traits to flourish if your team has the right framework to operate in. With Bitrix24, you get an all-in-one business tool that is the base from which your team can get on with what they do best.Sound like your kind of thing? Sign up for a free trial with Bitrix24 today.