Learning to work in a team! The holy Grail of all HR consultants, organizational psychologists, managers, team leaders and employees alike. There are online studies and articles and research in this field to fill the Library of Congress and there would still be room for some more. And apparently, there is room for more, as even in today’s world, characterized by endless resources and access to information, the problem of turning individuals in team – players is still very hot, for human resources specialists, executives and the working force. We sad it before and we will say it again, becoming a better employee means becoming a better you.
The issue has been analyzed from all possible angles and, while some experts consider it is the manager’s job to employ strategies so that the employees end up working better and more efficiently together, others consider it’s the employee’s holy mission of making the other colleagues work better with him or her. While many recruitment processes include personality tests digging up for team – oriented players, there are also humongous quantities of tips and advice on how you, as an employee, should find the best strategies to employ for becoming a better team player. In other words, before trying to change the others, you should start working on yourself.
1. Know yourself and the people you are working with
This sounds like a no – brainer, but you’d be surprised to know how many people go through life and through jobs without knowing the essentials about who they are and who are the people they are working with. Knowing and understating exactly what are your and the others’ attributions, roles, capacities, skills, limitations and job descriptions is the first step. Knowing what can turn your nice colleague into a blood thirsty conflictual monster is another. You don’t need extended psychology classes to learn how to manipulate others to do their jobs or avoid conflict, but being aware of what motivates, depresses or pushes the others is only reasonable.
2. Don’t expect the problem to go away by itself
Many managers complain that their employees do a lousy job working as a team, which endangers the company’s results to some end. Why aren’t they functioning like a team? Maybe they don’t get along so well, maybe they are opposite personalities clashing daily, maybe they don’t have the same goals. As a manager, there are a lot of things to be done here. But as an employee belonging to such a team, things can get difficult. If you realize that you people have problems with one another, then do something about it and solve them. Never let a conflict, a failure, a drawback, a personal issue or a fight pass without a closure or a resolving. People are prone to find guilty parties and patsies, to pass judgement, blame and hold grudges. If your manager didn’t take the proper solutions yet, be a team player and work towards the greater good of the team, even if sometimes there are very bitter pills to swallow.
3. The best strategies to employ for becoming a better team player come with experience
In other words, be patient and open to learn. You will find people you won’t like, but this doesn’t mean they are not valuable to the team or it’s impossible to work together with them. You will find reactive people who may seem difficult just because you make things difficult for them without knowing it. You will find people who need better guidance to do their jobs, who need you to help, who will let you do the job for them and so on. Becoming a true team player doesn’t happen over the night. You may be a nice person, and all the others think they are nice persons, and yet, there is a lot to learn.
Overcoming prejudice, understanding people’s needs, understanding your needs and reactions, they all come with practice. Managers are looking for flexible, adjustable, relaxed people. Becoming an asset and not yet another difficult colleague is your own responsibility.
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