How to be an Effective Team Player at Work

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Team players bring copious benefits to any team. Therefore, it is of no surprise that more and more employers are specifically looking for ‘effective team players’ when hiring the ideal candidates. But, what is an effective team player and how can you become one at work? Let’s discuss!

What is an effective team player?

I suppose every single one of us will have a slightly different view as to what exactly makes an effective team player. However, in general there is a universal understanding that an effective team player will have qualities such as:

  1. Being collaborative. This means that they will be searching for compromises, listening to everyones perspective and remaining respectful and professional at all times.
  2. Being accountable. Accountable people understand how their actions will impact their colleagues. They are willing to accept responsibility for their mistakes and look for effective solutions.
  3. Treating others with respect. Which means treating treat everyone with courtesy and consideration, regardless of their views, background or job.
  4. Commitment to the team. A true team player will be fully invested in their team because they care. They will genuinely believe in the team and will be determined to work towards a common goal.
  5. They are motivating and inspiring. This means that they use words of encouragement to bring the others in their team up, and not down. They use actions and language that makes people feel good and leaves them wanting to strive for success.
  6. They have a positive attitude. An effective team player always try to see the positives in situations. Their attitude lifts people up and makes them feel better.

How to be an effective team player

Being a good and effective team player isn’t always easy. However, just because it isn’t easy, it doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Below, are some top tips on what you can do to be an effective team player in any team!

1. Offer help to others

To be an effective team player, you must support and respect others. You can do this by helping them with their workload, offering them useful information or finding resources for them to use.  You’d even be helping others if you are offering them positive feedback, or even constructive criticism (but only when it is asked for).

2. Be reliable

Make sure you keep your promises. We’ve all worked with people who can’t keep them and its incredibly frustrating, to say the least. When people don’t fulfil their promises, it can hinder the groups performance and halt any progress. So, to be an effective team player, you must ensure that you complete everything you say you will.

On a similar note, to become an effective team player, you must also reliably produce the same standard of work, over and over again. You should always be aiming to work to a high standard, and you need to make sure that your work is consistently kept at this high standard. 

3. Show a strong work ethic

We can all be honest and say we’ve worked with people who we feel are lazy and uncommitted. And, these people are not effective team players.

To ensure you are an effective team player, you must alway be on your A game. Of course, don’t bend over backwards for teams or people, that don’t bend over back for you. But, to really make a contribution you any team,  you should always be willing to go the extra mile.

4. Actively listen to others

I talk about active listen a lot in my posts (e.g., ‘how to be a successful freelancer’) and thats because I deeply believe that it is the key to success in hundreds of situations.

Unless you have hearing issues, we’re all listening to what someone says. But are we really taking it in? Are we digesting what they say and looking for the deeper meaning? Probably not.

Active listening involves not only just hearing the words, but processing them. When you are practicing active listening, you are thinking about what is being said and taking a second to thoughtfully respond.

5. Know and use your strengths

Are you organized, good at resolving debates or do you have the ability to pay exceptional attention to detail? Knowing what you have to offer to a team is a powerful tool which can make you an incredibly effective team player.

Not only does knowing what you’re good at increase your chances of doing a good job. It also makes your work more satisfying and rewarding. Which makes you a happier, more fulfilled and more pleasant team member!

6. Communicate with your team better

Another top tip on how to be an effective team member is to focus on how you speak to others and WHAT you speak to them about. There is no need to be constantly messaging about your weekend, your latest weekend trip or your kids. But, there is a need to be communicating with others about how you are progressing, what tasks you are doing and how you are finding them. Effective team players will also check in with their colleagues to ensure that they are doing ok and that they are working towards the goal.

7. Be an active problem solver

Being an active problem solver means that you don’t only solve the problems, you look for them. The most efficient way to tackle problems is to notice them before they become issues. And, effective team players will play the devils advocate and will be looking to spot flaws. Of course, you can’t be too critical and you must still maintain your positive attitude. But, it is helpful to spot problems and rectifying them as soon as possible.

8. Celebrate everyones successes

I think one thing that so many of us do wrong when working in teams is not celebrating the success of others.

On a company wide level, when someone does well, it benefits the company as a whole, which is good news for you. However, when someone does well an effective team player will celebrate their success with them and make them feel valued.


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