October 1, 2015

4 Tips for Becoming a Better Team Player

Want help with your hiring? It's easy. Enter your information below, and we'll quickly reach out to discuss your hiring needs.

MoonsDo you work well with others? Do you prioritize team success over your own?

There is a reason these are common interview questions: all employers want employees who are team players. No one can achieve greatness completely on their own, and most companies are looking for employees who know this to be true.

The best candidates are those who can highlight their own successes as well as praise others for theirs. These candidates will go on to become the kind of employees who recognize that success is always better achieved through teamwork.

Are you not much of a team player yourself? Or maybe you’re just worried that you’re starting to get a little self-centered and need a brief refresher course. Whatever the case, here are four tips to help you become a better team player — and, as a result, become the kind of employee organizations will fight for.

1. It’s Not What You Say, but How You Say It

This is a simple, but important one. Consider your word choice when interacting with your colleagues. Choosing to say “we” instead of “I” is a small gesture, but it’s a gesture that can go a long way in recognizing the contributions of others.

At my company, City Wide Franchise, we have all become accustomed to referring to the whole group, rather than to certain individuals. Communicating in this way strengthens our bonds and gives us greater purpose.

2. Keep All Lines of Communication Open

Whether you communicate with your team through email, weekly webinars, team meetings, or one-on-one meetings, it’s important that you use some method to foster ongoing, clear, and consistent communication. Doing so ensures that nothing gets lost in translation and that everyone is held accountable to deadlines.

At City Wide Franchise, we use a tool called Asana, which is designed to help teams collaborate more efficiently. Instead of using email, we create projects, assign tasks to team members, and track progress through an online dashboard.

3. Have an Open Mindset

CansNothing ever goes exactly as planned. This is especially true when it comes to working in a group environment. One team member can present a new approach that changes the direction of an entire project.

Rather than challenging or contradicting opposing viewpoints, an effective team player will demonstrate flexibility, embrace change, and show a willingness to try something new and different.

4 Don’t Forget to Celebrate

Great team players celebrate the successes of their teammates.

One way to recognize fellow teammates is to include a “shoutouts” section in the company newsletter, where team members and team leaders can acknowledge their colleagues great work. Another effective recognition tool is to set aside some time during team meetings for team members to stand up and acknowledge their coworkers’ efforts.

It is incredibly important to celebrate team victories. At City Wide Franchise, we hold a monthly scorecard meeting that we use to measure and share group and company-wide successes. We also host off-site celebrations to show our appreciation for groups that exceed expectations.

It’s not hard to be a team player, and learning to become one will help you advance your career to new heights. Really, it’s all about refocusing your mindset: stop thinking about yourself as an individual at work, and start thinking about yourself as an important part of an overall team. Do this, and you’ll make a name for yourself as a real asset to your company.

Read more in Career

Jeff Oddo is the president of City Wide Maintenance and the founder and president of City Wide Franchise. City Wide is a management company for the building maintenance industry with more than 40 locations throughout the United States. Jeff is the author of "The 10 Kidmandments," a parenting book. He is also an accomplished public speaker. To learn more about City Wide Franchise, please visit www.gocitywide.com. To learn more about available franchise opportunities, please visit www.citywidefranchise.com.