There are a lot of articles out there talking about how to be a good team leader. For certain, the success of a team can depend heavily on the attitude and actions of its leader.
But it is not fair to lay all the blame for team issues on the leader. Team members have to do their part to make the team successful as well. Here are 5 ways you can be a stronger team member:
- Be fully on the team. Whether this is a team you selected or one you were assigned to join, you will not be successful if you do not understand and commit to the team’s goal. If your goals are not in alignment with the rest of the team, you will always be working at odds with them.
- Give other team members the benefit of the doubt. Trust is essential to a strong working relationship. It might seem that another team member isn’t as efficient or capable as you are, but thinking like that just puts a wedge between you and your teammates. Seek instead to understand what’s going on and how you might help.
- Share your knowledge and skills. Each member of the team brings different experience. Share what you know and what you think. The team may not always see things your way, but a constructively differing opinion allows the team to make choices from a position of knowledge.
- Speak up … tactfully. Contrary to popular belief, you can disagree with someone or hold them accountable without pissing them off or burning a relationship. Use a little of #2 above to bring the topic to light. Do NOT just ignore the situation — that will just create hard feelings between you and your team mates.
- Look for reasons to celebrate. Sometimes, when everyone is heads down on a project (and especially when you are under a lot of stress), the team is so focused on moving forward that they forget to celebrate what they’ve accomplished. Help your team leader and team mates feel good by recognizing the things that went right. That will keep everyone energized.
Even when you are not the team leader, you can still be a powerful part of making the team successful. The team leader plays a big role in establishing a positive working environment, but the team members need to hold up their end of things as well.
It is, after all, a team effort.
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