Whether as an employee or self-employed individual, you need to work with other people. Excellent teamwork skills can improve your performance and help you reach your goals. In this article, we explain what a team player is, the qualities of a great team player and how to develop your teamwork skills.
What is a team player?
A team player is someone who works within a group to reach a shared goal. They understand their role and share in their team's successes and challenges. Team players prioritize team goals rather than just theirs. Many employers look for great team players, and creating a team player resume is a good way to show that you have strong teamwork skills.
Qualities of a good team player
Team players must have several soft skills to work well with others. Here are some important qualities and characteristics of an effective team player:
1. Good listener
Actively listening to the thoughts and ideas of others is a key skill for team players. You must respect your teammates' ideas and be willing to receive constructive criticism. You must also learn to listen first and wait your turn to speak. Good listeners pay attention to details.
Example: Noah has some suggestions on how to improve the marketing strategies of his company. He approaches his team leader, Florence, after their review meeting. Florence listens to him carefully because she knows his ideas could help the company reach its target.
Team players take full responsibility for their actions. They own up to their mistakes and find ways to correct them. That way, they can learn from their mistakes.
Example: Chloe works as an engineer for a manufacturing company. She has a busy weekend and fails to complete her tasks for the week. Instead of making excuses or shifting her work to another engineer, she meets her manager, who is willing to adjust her work schedule.
3. Committed to the team
Great team players care about their team, and the work their teammates do. Your teammates must know that you believe in the team's work. Great team players have a positive attitude that can improve the team's performance even during challenging periods.
Example: Nicole is a graphics designer for a digital marketing company. Her job doesn't require her to join the public relations team in advertising the company's products, but she is willing to make posts and send them out on her social media account.
Be willing to carry out new tasks, learn on the job and explore new solutions. Great team players can adapt to changes and compromise when necessary.
Example: Terry is a doctor in a general hospital. One day, his shift replacement fails to show up. Terry informs his supervisor, who asks whether he can cover for her. He considers the patients that are waiting for his replacement and agrees to work some hours of the shift, while another colleague helps out with the rest.
5. Active participant
Team players come prepared for meetings and contribute to the team's work. They understand the boundaries of their position and value the contributions of other teammates.
Example: Ethan is a lawyer who is passionate about languages. In his current role, he works as a research intern for a startup. The legal aid of the company explains a policy for a product. Ethan offers his suggestions as a lawyer but understands his boundaries.
Team players complete tasks and meet targets. If you're a team player, you understand that your behaviour at work affects the entire team. You try to finish your tasks on time to improve the productivity of your team. A team player is someone others can count on.
Example: Benjamin works as a lab assistant in a hospital. He understands his role is critical to the company. Therefore, he comes to work early and tries to complete all reports before his deadline.
Great team players are willing to fill any required role. They understand that it takes the effort of other teammates to reach goals and they aren't selfish. If you're a team player, you understand that your supervisor might not give you the task you prefer. However, you will be willing to work hard.
Example: Jackie is the team lead of product development at her organization. She oversees the work of other product designers. When one of her team members fails to show up, she assumes their role so that the organization can reach its targets.
How to become a better team player
Becoming a better team player can help you get raises and reach other personal or team goals. Here are the ways to develop your teamwork skills:
1. Celebrate your teammate's wins
Improve your teamwork skills by celebrating the success of your team. Look at the achievements of your colleagues as a win for you. You can also reward your teammates and take an interest in their personal lives.
2. Treat your teammates with respect
Understand that they are working towards reaching the goals of your team. Being respectful encourages them and increases their productivity.
3. Be a problem-solver
Every team has challenges it seeks to overcome. When you identify one, look for ways to solve it. Brainstorming with other teammates can help you discover ideas you hadn't considered and get additional opinions.
4. Support others
If your teammate is struggling with a task, find out if they need help. Supporting them shows you care about your teammate and the team's goals interests you.
5. Ask for help
Get help from someone in your team if you can't figure your task out. Asking for assistance builds healthy relationships with your teammates. People are happy to help because you're all working towards a shared goal.
6. Get feedback from teammates
Identifying areas of self-improvement can be challenging. However, a teammate, mentor or friend can spot your strengths and weaknesses. They can give you honest feedback privately or make it part of your team-bonding process.
7. Learn from others who have strong teamwork skills
If you find someone who has excellent teamwork skills, identify what makes them a great team player. By doing this, you can pinpoint which of your own qualities to develop for success. Learn from others and apply the relevant skills when interacting with others.
8. Set personal goals
Use what you observe from others and the feedback they give to form goals and become a better team player. You can use the SMART model to set goals for yourself. This means your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-based.
How to show employers that you are a team player
Follow these steps to express your teamwork skills to employers:
1. Write your teamwork skills in your resume
Include that you are a team player in your resume's summary to get the attention of a recruiter. You can also include it in your objective statement, especially if you're applying for a job that involves a lot of teamwork. Here are some examples of how to express that you're a team player:
- objective: to become a team lead at Harvey Industries
- versatile programmer with a passion for working with developers looking to join Hi-Vent Inc.
2. Mention a specific role and give an example
While stating you're a team player is important, showing your teamwork skills is a better way to convince hiring managers you're a good fit for the role. Include whether you were the leader or member of a team and explain the responsibilities on your resume. You can also discuss the specific tasks you completed and give examples of how you're a team player during interviews. Here are some examples:
- worked with a rental company where my responsibility was to calculate the embodied emissions of products
- I worked with other marketers to ensure 100% customer retention for a packaging company
3. Mention team-player phrases in your resume or interview
Many companies use software to go through resumes, especially those who receive several resumes for one role. If the job requires a team player, a hiring manager may be looking for keywords such as:
- committed team-member
- exceptional communication skills
- team member who can also work independently
- enjoys working with others
- dedicated worker who can work in a team environment
4. Include your teamwork skills with other skills and qualifications
You should include your teamwork skills when listing other requirements on your resume. Even if you've written it in other areas, you can use the "Skills" section to emphasize that you're a good team player. Here's an example:
Skills: pressure management, creativity, structural analysis, attention to detail, computer science, data modelling, team leadership, adaptability