Be the Team Member Everyone Wants

The scene from the recess playground is burned in my brain.  The captains are choosing teams for dodgeball, and my friends and I are standing in a line, nervously shifting from one foot to the other.  No one wants to be the last one picked.

Most of the time, I was lucky enough to be selected near the middle of the pack, and at the time, I didn’t think there was anything I could do to control the outcome.  Now, however, I know that when working in business, there are indeed ways I can be the team member that everyone wants.  For example, I can:

Be good at my job

Co-workers like a team member who is recognized to be the best or most knowledgeable in a particular area.  I’m always reading and taking training courses so that I’m ahead of the curve in an industry that moves at the speed of the Internet.

Be well networked

People want to work with those who will make the task at hand easier because they understand who needs to be contacted, how resources can be procured, and how approvals can be obtained more quickly.

Be a problem-solver

People don’t want to listen to complainers who constantly lament the team’s unfortunate circumstances.  They want an action-oriented member who brings a solution to the table, or at least motivates the group to devise one.

Be willing to get my hands dirty

Having too much ego, or thinking I’m above certain tasks, is a fast way to alienate co-workers.  Colleagues want a team member who will pitch in and help out with whatever needs to be done, regardless of official responsibility, and who fulfills her obligations even when it means staying late.

Be respectful

Popular team members are pleasant to be around even during times of stress.  They listen to all points of view even when they don’t agree and are diplomatic in resolving disagreements.  They ask appropriate personal questions to show that they’re interested in their fellow team members, but don’t engage in conversation that makes others uncomfortable.

For more on team building, check out the following posts from Eva and Denise about defining your team and working in a team-based culture.

Alexandra Levit

Alexandra Levit’s goal is to help people find meaningful jobs - quickly and simply - and to succeed beyond measure once they get there. Follow her @alevit.

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  • http://www.movingfrommetowe.com KareAnderson

    We can learn from agile Opportunity-Makers. They usually ….
    1. Search for and speak to the sweet spot of mutual benefit, rather than talking about themselves.
    2. Articulate that mutual benefit to the possible team members in a way that naturally recruits them to join in capturing the opportunity.
    3. Are open to facilitating the team’s success – or asking the team to consider who is best suited to do so.
    4. Get the team to agree on a top goal, rules of engagement, tasks with lead persons for each and a related timetable.
    With that approach we are more likely to:
    • Optimize our opportunities in work and in life.
    • Become happier and higher-performing – with others.

    Ultimately we’ll enjoy accomplishing greater things together than we could on our own.

    [Reply]

  • Alexandra Levit

    Thanks for the additional insights on Opportunity Makers, Kare!

    [Reply]