How to Work Inside a Team
This article considers the dynamics of teamwork and describes techniques for increasing your effectiveness as a team member.
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A good team can make a weak member look good and good member look great. A weak team can make even the best member look incompetent. The major difference lies in the ability of a team to work as one unit. In order to accomplish this, each team member must understand his or her role within the team structure and know what to expect from the other team members. As a team member, you have a responsibility to learn how to work inside the team.
Learn your role.
Team members are often asked to work outside of their comfort area. This may mean that you have to do tasks that do not always play to your personal strengths. Ideally, this would not be the case, but every team has holes to fill and members are asked to step up and fill them. As a team member, your role is to do your part to help the team function as a single unit. So, a part of your role as a team member is to learn to work for the good of the team and not always for your own benefit.
Be determined to get along with other team members.
Not everyone on a team is cheerful, hardworking, innovative, and congenial. It can be challenging to lay personality conflicts aside and get along with them. If the team is going perform smoothly, cooperation is paramount. Fighting other team members is not productive, and it can spread like a virus throughout the entire team.
Good morale is a key ingredient to teamwork.
You cannot make people be happy. However, you can influence your own happiness. Leave personal problems at home. Find ways to encourage team members that are struggling. Push yourself to bring a good attitude into every meeting and task where you are involved.
Be willing to set the pace for the team.
Teams are constructed to be led. While you may not be the official team leader, your performance will either enable the team to fly forward or be a drag on its progress. If your position allows it, be an innovator. Bring new perspectives to old tasks. This will help keep the team fresh and should increase team performance through improved processes.
Help any team member that you can.
Helping is not supplanting. You may have the desire to have someone’s position on the team instead of your own. The temptation exists to help them so much that they no longer have a place on the team. At the same time, you will be letting your position slip and endangering your own place. The idea of helping is to improve a teammate’s performance during a learning curve or a time with a heavy workload. The reverse of this is that you may be the one needing help. Be willing to accept it.
Regardless of the role that you play on the team, you still represent the entire team. Make sure that you conduct yourself in a way that keeps the team in a good light. Outsiders will judge the entire team by the actions or performance of one team member. It is critical that each team member keeps up the image of the team in his or her behavior and appearance.