15 effective qualities of a great team player

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Great teams are comprised of great team players. These are the employees that help each other out, communicate well and want to see their team succeed within their respective industry. By working well together, team players create successful businesses that produce great work.

As O.C. Tanner describes, “Great work is about teamwork; it happens when everyone is willing to pitch in, roll up their proverbial sleeves, and do whatever it takes to succeed. As you rub shoulders with your coworkers, joining them in their struggle, your great example will start to rub off on them and everything will get easier.”

So, what is an effective team player comprised of? Below are 15 qualities every team player should develop in order to create a successful team.

1. Flexibility

Effective team players can adapt to different and new situations seamlessly. When changes come about in the office, they don’t react negatively and take the new challenges head on. Great team players are also flexible in the work they do and are willing to help other teammates out with assignments and meeting deadlines. This flexibility is what helps team members build their skillsets and grow within their career.

2. Good communication skills

Communication skills are vital when it comes to teamwork. Collaboration thrives when team players are comfortable sharing their ideas and opinions. Furthermore, having good communication skills help teams build a unique culture where employees can grow and be engaged in the work.

3. Give appreciation when it’s due

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According to a recent Gallup workplace survey, the most memorable recognition for an employee comes from: employee’s manager (28%), CEO (24%), the manager’s manager (12%), a customer (10%) and peers (9%). Managers and supervisors should be recognizing employees on a regular basis. From handwritten notes to shoutouts in meetings, employees need to know that they’re appreciated for their efforts.

Not only should leaders give regular appreciation, but peers should make an effort to recognize each other. Great teams notice and appreciate all efforts of a well working team.

4. Active listener

Team players are active listeners. Being an active listener means developing better interpersonal skills and having an open mind when listening to other opinions and ideas. When active listening, work to understand what the speaker is trying to say before answering them. Don’t be a sentence grabber or finisher.

5. Cooperative

Along with being flexible, it’s important for great team players to be cooperative with each other. Author and expert on leadership and organization effectiveness Marty Brounstein explains, “Cooperation is the act of working with others and acting together to accomplish a job.” Successful team players not only lend a helping hand, but can successfully adapt to different working styles and perspectives in order to work as a team.

6. Commitment to the cause

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With commitment and dedication to a job, the better engagement and work produced. In a study by Dale Carnegie Training and MSW that surveyed over 1500 employees, they found that 54% of employees who were proud of their company’s contributions to society are engaged in the work. Successful team players are the ones that believe in a company’s mission statement and live it in their day-to-day tasks.  

7. Shares opinions

Team members should be a part of a good team culture where everyone is comfortable sharing their own ideas and opinions. Again, by sharing opinions openly, teams can create a culture that cultivates employee’s qualities.

8. Supports other team members

Similar to being flexible, great teams are armed with employees that support each other in their endeavors. Your work may directly impact another team member, and as such, it’s important to have each other’s backs and help your fellow team members shine.

9. Reliable and responsible

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When everyone on the team pulls their weight, the better relationships coworkers develop and better work produced. David Sturt and Todd Nordstrom explain in a recent blog post, “Trusting that your coworkers can–and will–get things done is the first step to effective collaboration. So it’s no surprise that the most innovative and successful teams require dependability from all team members, from individual contributors to managers, directors and even the big boss.” When team members are reliable, coworkers are able to better trust one another with assignments and the overall quality of the work.

10. Involves others in the decision-making process

Great team players are not afraid to use each other as resources. Collaboration is key to great teams and as a team player, it’s important to come prepared to meetings and be ready for anything. Additionally, involving others is a great way to get a different take on the issue and bring diversity into the work.

11. Takes blame

It’s important that team members own up to their own mistakes and problems rather than blame other team members when issues arise. By recognizing missteps, it helps employees grow and not damage relationships.

12. Problem solver

As Managing Teams for Dummies explains, great team players are not “problem-dwellers, problem-blamers or problem avoiders.” Instead, they work together with employees to solve the issue at hand.

13. Encourages growth of other team members

Great team players encourage and engage other team members to produce great work. A good way for leaders to encourage employee growth and engagement is to create individual development plans where employees work to gain certain skillsets so they can become experts in their field. Down the road, these employee experts can become a vital resource for other employees looking to grow, thus creating a company culture that values education and learning.

14. Responsive to feedback

As a manager or supervisor, it’s important to give team members consistent feedback so employees can grow in their careers and stay engaged in the work. But, at the same time, feedback is only a helpful engagement tool when utilized. Team players need to be open to feedback and apply it to their work.

15. Respectful to other team members

Lastly, in order to build strong relationships with coworkers, it’s important that employees respect other team members and are courteous and considerate. Be respectful of opinions, lend a hand when necessary and know how to have fun. You spend a lot of time with your coworkers and as an effective team player, it’s vital that you respect and continue to develop a professional relationship.

So whether you’re joining a team or looking for ways to improve your current team situation, keep these 15 tips in mind and you’ll be well on your way to help contribute and turn your team into an award-winning team.

By o.c. tanner
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