For many leaders our work lives revolve around being part of a team or even several teams. The thing is that all teams are not equal and that means we need to lead differently depending on the team make-up. I have worked with teams where there are many outspoken individuals who have strong opinions and I have also partnered with teams where there is a very defined hierarchy that is followed at all times. So to be an effective team member and be able to navigate our teams with the greatest success there are powerful but simple strategies we can embrace.
Five team player shifts to win:
1. Have A Clear Understanding Of the Team Structure
One of the first things team players need to assess is how the team is run. It’s important to know if there are explicit as well as implied rules that need to be followed. For example, is each person on the team asked to share their opinions or do things flow more organically with suggestions from everyone? Are there regular team meetings and who oversees them? How does the team deal with conflict and disagreements? Knowing the rules and the culture of a team helps leaders create winning outcomes.
2. Help Create An Environment of Trust And Be Trustworthy
In many of my leadership workshops there are complaints that leaders don’t feel they can trust all of their team members. They sense that co-workers may be sabotaging their projects by withholding information or just not making a particular assignment a priority. To build a foundation of trust for a team as well as be a trustworthy team player:
- Connect with team members in a personal way
- Be open to different perspectives from your own
- Make sure to share all information and not withhold details
- Admit mistakes and apologize
3. Be A Direct and Respectful Communicator
Powerful communication by a team member can make the difference between a successful team result and a total “miss”. Here’s how. When a leader chooses language that is direct, open and respectful of the other person’s point of view critical information is always heard. Even if what a leader is sharing is not what the other team member wants to hear they will listen if it is presented in a calm and clear manner. Shouting will only add to confusion and frustration. Never lose your cool and always be honest in what you have to say.
4. Advocate Accountability
To win in any workplace, it begins with a culture of accountability. Each team player must hold themselves accountable as well as each of their teammates. When there is a high level of accountability in an organization there are more risks being taken and more innovation. To be an accountable team player:
- Own your actions by taking responsibility for the actions and decisions you make
- Never blame others or point fingers
- Speak up when you sense something is “out of whack”
- Take a risk even if you aren’t 100% sure it will be perfect
- Empower others to be accountable team players by always sharing what is best for the team
5. Show Generosity and Support
A team player who wants to be a winner is an individual who is generous with their time and shares the lessons they learned along the way. A winning team member is willing to jump in when a deadline is fast approaching and there is still a great deal of work to accomplish. When team players have the mantra, “I’m here for you. How can I help?” there will be a team that achieves extraordinary results.
What additional ways can team players shift to win?
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