We have touched on this theme in other blog entries. However, it is such a critical question, I think it warrants a dedicated blog entry. My last team entry discussed the question, “Would you want to work with yourself?” The question “what kind of team member are you?” brings up the same need for insight. Can you step far enough away from yourself to answer these questions objectively?
The truth is that most of us lack keen insight into the challenges we bring to others. How can we overcome our own blind spots? You now, I am not quite sure. Here are some ideas…
1. Complete self-assessments related to leadership and team and openly study the results.
2. Ask a trusted adviser their views. Explain that you are developing your own team member growth plan (i.e. a plan to help you be the best team member you can be). Ask them what they see as your strengths and areas that it would be helpful to focus on improving.
3. Learn more about what makes a team great. Learn the core competencies of a great team member and develop a plan to hone your team member skills.
4. Observe team members that are valued for their contributions and membership on the team. What common denominators do you see?
These a just a few to get stared with on the journey to becoming a great team member. I think the more insight we have into our own team performance and relationships, the more accurately we can focus our efforts on growing in this area. Of course, insight is necessary but not sufficient. We must take action and evaluate the results as well. It is through this cycle of insight, plan, practice and evaluation that we can grow as team members.
First we have to understand that our endeavors will never be fully successful, until we are able to fully contribute as team members. In the end, this is about much more than getting “our” job done. It is about:
- Understanding and embracing the organizational mission
- Building and maintaining productive relationships with our boss, team members, vendors and customers
- Being organized and delivering
- Communicating respectfully, clearly and often
- Stepping up to help our team members
- Being adaptable and flexible
Of course, it does also include getting our job done and done well. As we all show up to be contributing team members, we accomplish great things together.