Take a second to think about the principles of a good marriage.
Communication. Consideration. Compromise. The occasional shared kitchen clean-up and the perfect combination of color, cut, carat and clarity.
Each of these principles, when working together, creates a happy relationship. These same ideas (minus the engagement ring) are easily translatable to the workplace and provide a sturdy framework for lasting success.
According to Entrepreneur’s article, 10 Ways You Hurt Yourself When You Won’t be a Team Player, businesses live and die on communication. Here are the essentials:
- A dedication to being attentive and considerate of others’ opinions, time, and efforts
- A willingness to work as a team to achieve shared goals
Without these bedrock principles in place, Entrepreneur contributor John Boitnott says, you open yourself up to an unproductive professional environment that comes with many obstacles between you and advancement.
“Being an active member of a team also helps you increase your own productivity and opens the door to more career opportunities,” John writes.
In any relationship, professional or personal, by focusing on yourself and avoiding the role of “team player,” that extra sick day or pay bump or corner office with the skyline view is put a little farther out of reach.
Over the next few minutes we’ll talk about several areas that can turn you into a team player.
Communication, Communication, Communication: Hear Out Ideas
Just as location is everything in real estate, so too, is communication in the business world. Communication helps you develop strengths and discover weaknesses, facilitates meaningful, working relationships and promotes creativity and innovation through the sharing of ideas
Two-way feedback makes room for opportunities to discuss issues before they arise. It also strengthens relations that can become mutually beneficial over time, fostering success for the individual as well as the team. Communication is what allows collaboration to win over competition.
On top of avoiding misunderstandings, having consideration for your colleagues’ ideas and opinions creates an atmosphere of trust and open communication that allows you and your teammates to feel their voices are not only heard, but valued. Unnecessary conflict can be avoided when feedback is given and taken with respect and attentiveness.
Know When to Fold ‘Em: The Collective Over the Personal
It may seem a bit counterintuitive, but prioritizing the personal above the collective may not always be in your best interest, nor is it the path to long-term success.
Being rigid and inflexible rather than considerate and communicative also alienates you from coworkers, creates a more competitive environment and fosters unnecessary rivalries that are ultimately counterproductive for everyone.
Compromise is important, too. Again, everyone’s thoughts must be taken into consideration. Productivity stops when compromises don’t take place. Halting progress to hash out problems that could have otherwise been avoided through communication fuels an already frustrating situation and, more often than not, causes more problems than it solves.
Of course, executive decisions have to be made at some point, but active listening allows issues to be managed in a fair way, one in which everyone gets a say. Consideration for the team’s needs over the individual’s ensures that most, if not all, are satisfied about the outcome of a conflict and sets the tone for future friction to be solved quickly and efficiently.
All for One or One for All? Viewing Performance Through a Team Paradigm
In an article from Business Insider, an economics professor from the University of California, Santa Barbara contends that “when workers are ranked solely on individual performance, it may create a culture of back-stabbing.”
That said, being a team player can also be very self-serving. Instead of letting your hunger for success drive others away, share a little. Teamwork allows you to have your cake and eat it too. Better yet, you may end up with a bigger cake because of the effort your team put forth.
Michael Mamas, contributing writer for Entrepreneur and an expert in mastering success through teamwork, said the key to conquering the business world is being a team player, self-awareness and a good attitude.
“If you can’t get along with people, you won’t go far in the business world, no matter how smart and shrewd you are,” Mamas wrote.
Instead of dueling for higher rank at every opportunity, take the time to build meaningful relationships.
“Being an active member of a team also helps you increase your own productivity and opens the door to more career opportunities,” he wrote.
A Final Thought on Being a Team Player
In the fateful battle of the individual versus the team, “all for one” versus “one for all”, communicating with a positive attitude and a motivation to work together for the benefit of everyone will, most likely, create a solid first impression and set you apart from the crowd.
If it’s trusting your team that scares you, then take a few moments to read a post we wrote a few months ago about three lessons we learned from business leaders. You’ll find some great insight in the “Trust Your Team” section.