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6 traits every effective team player has

Whether it's your job to hire new talent for your company or you're the one looking to be that new talent, you need to figure out what makes a successful employee fit in and work effectively. Aside from demonstrating the technical skills involved and the right experience, good employees should have a certain set of traits that make them the perfect additions to any team. Collectively, these people are referred to as "team players." But what makes a team player?

According to a recent ProOpinion poll, business professionals believe the top three traits of a team player include:

  1. Treats others respectfully (37 percent)
  2. Demonstrates reliability (24 percent)
  3. Communicates constructively (20 percent).

Being respectful of co-workers is clearly a major priority, otherwise no one would get along. Being reliable, getting work done and sticking to commitments are important as well, as without these qualities the individual would have no chance of success. Finally, constructive communication means that an employee isn't afraid to speak his or her mind and bring new ideas to the table, but he or she does it in a way that's positive and respectful of others.

While these are all crucial aspects of a team player, there are other characteristics involved as well. Here's what else team players typically demonstrate.

Good listening skills
Being a team player obviously means being able to work together with others to accomplish given tasks, and this wouldn't be possible without good communication. Speaking up is an important aspect, but so is being able to listen. If an employee is always caught up in his or her own ideas and isn't willing to listen to those of other teammates, nothing good will come of it. Teamwork requires collaboration, which involves actively considering others' ideas and gaining an understanding of other viewpoints to come to a satisfactory conclusion. Team players don't argue every point of someone's idea or react defensively to constructive criticism. They embrace it.

"Every good team has a mixture of people who excel in different areas."

Appreciates others' skills
Every good team has a mixture of people who excel in different areas. By working together, they're able to collaboratively solve problems using their unique skills and characteristics. An effective team member knows that this is essential for success, and appreciates everyone's differences. For example, one person might be a great source of industry news, always bringing the latest innovations into discussion. Another person might be a whiz at product development who never fails to come up with exciting new ways to bring consumers what they're looking for. A team player uses both of these co-workers' skills to his or her advantage, like using industry news and product development ideas to inform market research.

Adapts to change quickly
Changes are always occurring in the workplace, and team players are prepared to handle them head on. As Monster.com pointed out, today's technological advancements, increased globalization, flexible work schedules and workplace diversity mean that team players need to be "more complex, adaptive, creative and flexible." This might mean changing the way you work to benefit the team or being open to new procedures that will make working together more effective.

Shares openly and often
Team players know that for a team to be successful, everyone needs to be on the same playing field. This often means sharing information, knowledge and experience to keep other team members informed. Outside the meeting room, team players communicate openly and often to make sure that the job is getting done. This helps everyone feel comfortable relying on one another and approaching co-workers for help in solving problems. Someone who keeps to him or herself and doesn't actively participate in conversation isn't likely benefiting the team as a whole.

xSharing openly and often ensures that everyone on the team has what's necessary to succeed.

Shows commitment to the team
Team players care a great deal about their own careers, but they realize that their careers aren't much without the teams behind them. This gives them extra incentive to make sure their team is not only functional, but successful. The careers of their teammates are just as important as their own, and they show up to work every day willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done and make sure everyone is on track. 

Goes above and beyond
Team players realize that they're responsible for their fair share of work and getting projects finished on time. But according to the Career Advancement Blog, they're also willing to do more than what they're asked if it would benefit the team as a whole. This doesn't necessarily mean picking up someone else's slack, but taking risks, leaving their comfort zones and being creative to get ahead of the competition and increase the team's chance of success. Taking the initiative and holding more responsibility often sets team players apart from their peers.

Would you consider yourself a good team player? What other traits do you think a team player should have?

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