Most organizations emphasize teamwork as a part of their value system. Employees are expected to show up with all their skills and talents and be part of a team or department. Foremost, a part of the organization. Sounds easy, right?
And, yet, I hear from many leaders that there are members who are not team players. Honestly ask yourself which category you fall into, most of the time: Team Player or “I” Player?
Check out these questions and suggestions to help you boost your ability to be a Team Player.
Do you constantly compare yourself with others? Do you judge their abilities against yours or Vice Versa? When this happens, you skip over individual uniqueness and the ability to recognize skills and talents that are different. This kind of judgment is not discernment. It is separating.
What you can do: Recognize the individuality of skills and talents that are different. Not wrong. Just different. If you are curious about acquiring a certain skill, get out of your comfort zone and determine if this is something you want to add to your skill set. This promotes connection.
Are you in a regular state of competition? Are you looking only at your achievements as being better than someone else? This subtly starts with that comparison thing. The little ego is triggered and moves into the mode to be superior. This is not healthy teamwork.
What you can do: Recognize healthy competition is a good thing. Healthy competition is supportive of others and of yourself. You are not hanging out in the “not good enough” perfectionistic trap. Rather, you are in a learning mode with a growth-mindset. It is motivating and inspiring. It engages others and brings multiple talents and skills together.
Fear of Judgment.
Do you hold back for fear of being judged? This is a by-product of the first two. Unhealthy comparison, judgment, and feeling superior or inferior contribute to withholding your best self. It is isolating.
What you can do: Start with recognizing the fear. Explore what is the source of it and challenge it. Get out of your comfort zone and face fear in the face. It may still feel a bit unsettling, but this type of unsettling is forward moving. Stepping up and contributing puts you in the game with the team.
Do you get easily frustrated with processes? Do you have a negative attitude of being required to follow certain procedures? Negativity is damaging.
What you can do: Find out the purpose of the process. Why is it important? It may be that it is necessary to have consistency and ensure outcomes are well executed. Some processes and procedures do become antiquated. They are no longer effective. They become habits. If this is the case, bring your brilliant suggestion to the table for consideration. This promotes collaboration. This is teamwork.
Do you know and understand the overall mission/vision of your team? Your organization? Or, are you there day in and day out doing your job. Keeping your head down. Not engaging. This is being an “I” Player.
What you can do: If you don’t know it, find out the mission/vision. Why is what you do important? How does it align with organizational values; with your values? Be willing to be a part of something larger. [Side note: If there is misalignment with your values, this is worth exploring how, why and your options.] But, if any detachment has been because of withdrawing and lack of participating, challenge yourself.
We spend a large portion of our time at work. Attitude and approach are important factors in the level of satisfaction we achieve. Only we can control our attitude and approach. If you already are a Team Player and are fully engaged, notice if you can engage a little more with someone who may not be as participatory as you. It could strengthen the team.