Luzita Kennedy, CA, CPA

On the topic of being a remarkable team player, Henry Ford once said “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” Teamwork has many variables that play into an organization’s success. Recently, I joined Marta Alfonso, the host of The Well-Heeled Professional on Voice America to discuss the various talents required to be a remarkable team player.

After the interview, I was inspired to share 8 important qualities to incorporate into a positive team working experience. Here they are:

1. Understanding
Understanding how decisions are made is extremely important. Knowing how people on your team make decisions is key, because it is decisions that move your project forward.
Members on a team make decisions in different ways. It is personal and innate for most. So, understanding each other’s style of decision-making will help reduce conflicts, processes will become smoother, and team members will feel empowered to contribute to the decision-making process based on their style.

2. Trust
Trust in each other is paramount to team success. It is not something that comes easy – as a team leader you must inspire and facilitate trust.
Trust can mean owning mistakes and celebrating successes. Most of all, trust is about relationships within the organization. When you have trust within your team or organization, every member is heard and feels valued. When people feel trusted and respected, it leads to healthy debate and conversation. Conversation then leads to decision-making which allows the organization to move forward toward success.

3. Commitment
Once a decision has been made, it is important for everyone on the team to commit to the decision and the actions required moving forward. Regardless of previous opinions and thoughts within team conversations, a decision has been made and all team members need to be aligned. It is now about the bigger picture and making it happen.

4. Accountability
A sibling to commitment, accountability will help to ensure ‘it’ does in fact happen, whatever ‘it’ may be for your team or organization. Hold each other accountable. Call each other out. It is healthy. Accountability refers back to trust and the decision your team made (it is not personal). This is not only the team leader’s role either; it is important that every team member hold each other accountable.

5. Collaboration
A positive working environment brings people together in a collaborative manner. People bring diverse views and different perspectives to every situation. These various ways of approaching a situation is what brings colour to a project.
Ultimately, it is about people and how they choose to work together, i.e. collaboration.

6. People
A healthy team of people will often lead to team success. A healthy team can be defined in various ways. A healthy team could come about when all team members recognize that people have different points of view. When people are then open to those different points of view it is incredible to see what kinds of perspectives you become exposed to. This way of thinking and acting is what helps to create a collaborative solution, too.

7. Environment
Another key aspect of a performance driven team is recognizing team members’ unique styles when it comes to their environment. Where do they like to work? Is it a quiet space? Or perhaps some team members work well in an open concept environment. In any case, creating a positive and productive environment will help team members thrive in their own way.

8. Communication
Everyone benefits from the sharing of information. The more that you share (results, budgets, direction, strategy, etc.) the more you can break down silos between teams.
Good communication applies to every relationship we have in our lives. Communication helps to facilitate trust and understanding, too. When team leaders and members alike keep the lines of communication open people feel heard and valued leading to a positive environment – ultimately, team success.

I’ve found that when a team makes an effort to truly work together, amazing things can and will happen. The 8 topics listed here are certainly not the be all and end all of a good team; however, they are a great start.

I encourage you to tune into the full episode to hear more from the Advisory Board on the topic of being a remarkable team member (and leader). Along with Stuart Cohen and Andrea T. Mills of FMA, I discuss how to best create a positive experience with this form of professional work. You’ll hear about successes and failures in teamwork among other team related topics. You will walk away with lessons learned and I hope you will be able to apply them in your organization.

I want to leave you with this last thought from author Louisa May Alcott, “It takes two flints to make a fire.”

References

Voice America Episode: Being a remarkable team player