10 Ways You Can Be a Team Player
Lend a Hand
Sometimes all you can do when someone is struggling is encourage them, but you usually have an answer or the time to lend a hand. Will helping out sometimes cause you to need to stay late yourself, or maybe delay something you’re doing yourself? Yes. But not only does it boost the morale of the co-worker you helped, it banks a little good karma for you. You know, for all those times you need help.
It may pain you to realize it, but you cannot always win at work. And you cannot always win. If you’re working with someone who does something slightly different than you would do it, or on a slightly different timetable, it doesn’t mean you’ll be able to change them, or that their way is the right way, or even that your way is the right way. The classic adage of “Accept the things you cannot change, the courage to change the things you can, and the wisdom to know the difference,” is especially true at work.
Did a newbie just start? Or maybe they’ve been there for a while, but still seem to be struggling? While it may be tempting to keep your head down and your eyes on your own work, it’s the worst thing you could do for the greater team.
You’d be surprised how much good you could do – not just for that person, but for every person they come in contact with on the job from now on – if you step in to guide them. This, of course, assumes they are open to your advice and guidance, but if you don’t try, you’ll never know what an impact you could have made.
Keep an Open Mind
Yes, you went to school, and yes you may have upwards of 20 years on the job. But education is a life-long process, and experience is no substitute for a humble appreciation for what you can learn if you’re open minded. Is there a new aide on the floor that might do something slightly differently than you’re used to? Does that mean they are doing it wrong, or is it possible they might just be able to show you a new technique? The same thing applies to people you work with outside your own field.
Building on the last point, asking others for their advice and input is a great way to build team morale and make others feel invested in what you’re doing. You may know a process or technique cold, but asking for other perspectives (from time-to-time, no need to go crazy) not only makes them stop and think about what you contribute, it reminds them that you trust and value their opinion. Which, hopefully, you do.
If this was a paper list, we’d underline and highlight this tip. Workplace gossip can be an effective way to vent stress, but one little whisper about a co-worker has the possibility of snowballing into a landslide of kvetching. Gossip singles people out, denigrates the contributions of people who many not even know they’re being talked about, and it makes you look small. Instead of wasting your time tearing down the people you spend – let’s face it – the vast majority of your waking life with, why not build them up?
How do you contribute to the team?
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