“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.”
~ Michael Jordan ~
Strong team players are the backbone of any team. When others fail, these are the people who venture on with strong resolve and persistence, committed to getting the job done. Most people can list the qualities of bad team members without struggling too hard, but do you know what qualities great team players share?
Here are five qualities that make a good team player great:
- Always reliable. A great team player is constantly reliable day in and day out, not just some of the time. You can count on them to get the job done, meet deadlines, keep their word and provide consistent quality work. With excellent performance, organization and follow-through on tasks they develop positive work relationships with team members and keep the team on track.
- Communicates with confidence. Good team players might silently get the work done but shy away from speaking up and speaking often. Great team players communicate their ideas honestly and clearly and respect the views and opinions of others on the team. Clear, effective communication done constructively and respectfully is the key to getting heard.
- Does more than asked. While getting the work done and doing your fair share is expected of good team players, great team players know that taking risks, stepping outside their comfort zones, and coming up with creative ideas is what it’ll take to get ahead. Taking on more responsibilities and extra initiative sets them apart from others on the team.
- Adapts quickly and easily. Great team players don’t passively sit on the sideline and see change happen; they adapt to changing situations and often drive positive change themselves. They don’t get stressed or complain but are flexible in finding their feet in whatever is thrown their way.
- Displays genuine commitment. Good team players are happy to work 9-5 and receive their paycheck at the end of the month. Great team players take the time to make positive work relationships with other team members a priority and display a genuine passion and commitment toward their team. They come to work with the commitment of giving it 110% and expect others on the team to do the same.
To be a great team player, you don’t have to be extroverted or indulge in self-promotion. In fact, great team players sport all kinds of personalities. You just need to be an active participant and do more than your job title states. Put the team’s objectives above yours and take the initiative to get things done without waiting to be asked. In return you will build positive perception, gain more visibility, and develop influential connections to get ahead in your career.
Want to learn more ways to build positive work relationships with members of your team? Click here to read more articles on teamwork.
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May 31, 2012
Leadership and Teamwork
Business schools assess leadership and team skills in applicants very keenly. Some schools may include direct questions asking you to narrate your leadership and teamwork experiences. Other schools that don't ask these questions directly assess you on these skills through the experiences you share through the various essays you write. If these are indeed your strength areas you would bring them up in your essays anyway is the assumption they work with.
You demonstrate leadership when:
a. you show initiative to improve things around you: solve problems, correct old processes and setup new ones.
b. you convince others of the effectiveness of your novel ideas and remove obstacles in implementation, you overcome opposition to your ideas too.
c. you lead a team of people to achieve a difficult task, you motivate team members to contribute to the task, include their opinions, and bring together dissenting voices.
Stories of leadership on the lines suggested here become the most decisive parts of your application. They turn that admission decision in your favor.
Identify such experiences, use them to answer the direct questions on leadership, or to substantiate points you make in other essays.
The most effective leadership story is one where you identify problems in an existing way of doing things, conceive a better way, persuade others to accept you way, overcome obstacles on the path of execution, and deliver a great result.
Just because you work in teams or lead teams doesn’t mean you are a good team player. To prove that you are, you would need to recall examples from your experience where you handled what are considered as the normal pitfalls of teamwork. These are described below.
Often in teamwork individual goals don’t align with team goals. If you were placed in a project you weren’t interested in how did you place team objectives over personal goals?
Teamwork generates conflicts. People have different ideas and they wish to do things differently. When you confronted such a situation how did you bring dissenting voices together?
In the best performing teams, team members share clarity of purpose. How did you create such clarity when you found lack of it hindering team process?
Also in teamwork, roles and objectives have to be clearly defined. When roles overlapped and goals were not clear, how did you organize the effort?
Share examples on these lines. Avoid examples where you arranged an out of office dinner or picnic and everyone because of it became ideal team players the next day. Get real. If a team member or a group of them are not contributing, the team outing is going to do little. Perspectives will change and realizations will hit when the real reason behind the problems are addressed and this often happens at the work place.
You will identify the ideal story to narrate team skills when you recall your good team experiences, where teamwork created a great result.
Not many applicants help admissions committees judge their ability to effectively work with others. A good team experience is an ideal way to show your people skills. Among the various stories you will include in the essays also include one that brings out your team skills.
Chapter 1: Achievements
Chapter 2: Career Goals and Career Progress
Chapter 4: Unique applicant
Chapter 5: Weaknesses, setbacks and failures
Chapter 6: Why MBA? Why XYZ school?
Chapter 7: Miscellaneous issues