How to Become a Great Team Player

Teamwork is an important skill to develop.  I always tell my career mentor members that being a great team player can really enhance your life and career success.  Here are my thoughts on what it takes to become a great team player.

Technical competence – you can’t be a fully contributing member of a team if you are not technically competent.  You need to be able to do your job and do it well.  This means keeping up to date on developments in your area of expertise.  I always suggest to my coaching clients that they become the go to person in their company in their particular area of technical expertise.  When you are a true expert, you are able to help your colleagues deal with their questions, problems and concerns.  When you consistently help your colleagues you will become known as a team player – someone everyone wants to work with and have on their team.

Sharing Orientation – good team players are willing to share their time and expertise.  We all need a little help every once in a while.  When you demonstrate that you are willing to help others in your company, they will be willing to help you when the time comes – and believe me, there will be plenty of times in your corporate climb when you’ll need help.

Good Interpersonal Skills – good team players understand themselves.  They use their self-awareness to better understand others.  When you take the time to understand others, you are more aware of how to help them – and your team.  Good team players listen more than they speak.  They focus on turning tense situations into opportunities for collaboration and creative problem solving.

Self Reliant – good team players take responsibility for themselves and their work.  They focus on doing their job to the best of their ability and trust that their colleagues will do the same.  Successful teams know that they can count on every member to carry his or her weight, and that the collective effort will yield great results.

Focus on Stakeholders – no team exists in a vacuum.  Most teams have several constituencies who are affected by their work.  Good team members keep a constant focus on the needs of their various stakeholders.  They encourage their teammates to do the same.  Satisfied stakeholders help you create a reputation as being a high performing team.

Welcome and Use Feedback – good team players know that they can always get better.  They seek out feedback from other team members.  They listen carefully to the feedback they receive and they incorporate suggestions into their behavior.  When you solicit feedback and use it, the people on your team will see you as someone who is interested in becoming a high performer and helping the team to become known as a high performing team.

Meet Commitments – good team players do what they say they’ll do.  People know that they can count on the.  If they find that circumstances are preventing them from meeting a commitment, they notify the people who will be affected right away.

Honesty – good team players tell the truth.  They are candid and courageous.  Their team members know that they can count on them to be truthful.  On the other hand, they never use honesty as an excuse for being hurtful.  Good team members don’t say malicious things in the guise of honesty.  They use the truth to help move the team forward.

Initiative – good team players look for things that need to be done – and then they do them.  They don’t wait to be told what to do.  They volunteer for the tough jobs and do them well.  They are one step ahead, anticipating needs and addressing them.

Trusting – good team members trust their colleagues.  They expect them to do what they say they will do.  This trust is generally rewarded.  When others feel trusted, they do their best to live up to their commitments.

Trustworthy – good team members act in a manner that lets their colleagues know that they can be trusted.  Besides meeting commitments, they keep confidences.  They don’t gossip.  They may argue about team decisions in the privacy of the team, but they publicly support all team decisions.

Consensus Builder – good team members look for ways to creatively resolve differences.  They focus on small points of agreement and use them to build creative solutions to problems.  They solicit the input to ensure that all sides of an issue are in the open and then they look for solutions that are acceptable to the entire team.

Empathy – good team players work hard to understand the views of others; especially those people with whom they disagree.  They focus on understanding the situations that give rise to others points of view.  They put themselves in the place of others so that they can better understand them.

Respect – good team members never dismiss anyone out of hand.  They believe that every human being has value and is entitled to their respect, regardless of where they stand in the hierarchy.

Commitment to the Team’s Success – good team members think “we” before “me”.  They commit to their team’s success.  They are willing to make personal sacrifices to ensure that the team meets its objectives and commitments.

Focus on Task and Process – good team members focus not only on what the team needs to accomplish, they also focus on how the team accomplishes what it sets out to do.  They pay keen attention to how the team works together and offer up suggestions for better working relationships within the team.

Humility – good team members realize that they are part of something greater than themselves.  This realization keeps them humble.  They keep a level head, even when they are singled out for their contributions.  They know that the entire team, not just them, are responsible for their team’s success.

Supportive – good team members are always willing to help and support their colleagues.  They offer their support in getting the work done as well as their moral supports.  Their team members see them as someone to whom they can turn when things get tough.

Active Listening – good team members really listen. They pay attention to the not only what is being said, but the emotions behind the words.  They ask questions to make sure they understand.  They realize that human communication is an imperfect process, so they work extra hard to make sure that they are receiving the same message that it being sent.

Flexibility – good team members realize that stuff happens; and that when stuff happens, the best plans might need to be changed.  They are willing to go with the flow and pick up the slack.  They are not rigid and react to sudden changes in a cool and calm manner.

Example – good team members set a positive example for their teammates.  They conduct themselves with integrity.  They respect their colleagues.  They always do their best.  They help their teammates and the team be better than they think they can be.

The career mentor point here is simple common sense.  You need to be a team player.  If you are a great team player you will build the strong, lasting, mutually beneficial relationships necessary to create the life and career success you deserve.

That’s my career advice on becoming a team player.  What do you think?  Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment.  As always, thanks for reading my daily thoughts on life and career success.  I value and appreciate you.

Your career mentor,


PS: If you haven’t already done so, please download a free copy of my popular career mentoring book Success Tweets and its companion piece Success Tweets Explained.  The first gives you 140 bits of career success advice tweet style — in 140 characters or less.  The second is a whopping 390 + pages of career advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail.  Go to to claim your free copies.  You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.


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