Three Ways to be a Better Team Player

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Why is it important to be a better team player?  In today’s business environment, with its every-increasing pace and degree of complexity, the need for collaboration is greater than ever.  Very little can be accomplished without the help –or at least the support — of peers and partners.  It behooves every one of us to become better team members, whether we are leading the team or someone else is.

Here are three ways you can improve:

  1. Listen more.  Spend more time listening to others than you spend talking.  You’ll be surprised what you can learn and how it can help you to achieve your goals.  I’m not talking about surface listening – just waiting for the other person to finish so you can take your turn.  Active listening helps you to grasp the other person’s intent, their point of view and their issues and concerns.  It includes hearing what isn’t being said and watching for tone and body language to truly understand where they are coming from.  This level of understanding enables you to better influence the outcomes and results you are getting, because you have a wider perspective on reality (in other words, not just yours).
  1. Appreciate more. Even when you disagree with someone on your team, do it respectfully.  Learn to appreciate and value their point of view. After all, each of your team-mates has a uniquely different perspective, based on their unique experiences, the roles they’ve played, how they think and feel, and what they believe.  Adding their perspectives to your own will help inform your path forward to whatever it is you are trying to accomplish.  This is how you build support for your ideas, as well as how you refine and improve them.
  1. Think before you talk. It sounds simple, but it isn’t always easy.  Especially when you want to influence the outcome.  Rather than blurting out the first thing that’s on your mind, it’s actually more effective to pause and consider exactly what you want to convey before you just start in. Have you ever noticed how some people begin speaking the second someone else stops—or worse, just talk right over the other person?  It seems rude and immature.  They couldn’t possibly have been really listening with the intent to understand, just waiting to hear the sound of their own voice.  Learn to let others speak first and then, add what’s missing from your perspective.  It really isn’t necessary to dominate the entire conversation—nor is it advisable.

By practicing these three simple tips, you will become a better team player.  You will also be perceived as a better team player and you will ultimately gain more influence within the team.

To learn more about improving the overall teamwork in your organization, join me for a free training session:  How to Eliminate Dysfunction and Build a Cohesive TeamClick here for more information and to register.

And, as always, I look forward to your feedback, comments and questions!

#teamwork #leadership #communications #relationships

Does Your Team Engage in Constructive Conflict?

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Is your team able to disagree productively?  Are they able to debate issues of importance to the organization while maintaining respect for one another?  Do they feel safe in challenging ideas presented by others?  Including you?  In other words, does your team engage in constructive conflict?

If not, you may be missing out on solving the biggest problems, finding the best solutions, creating the best opportunities, and setting the stage for the creativity and innovation that sets your organization apart.

Here are 5 Signs that your team fears or avoids constructive conflict:

  1. The environment is full of back-channel politics.
  2. Team members attack one another personally or engage in passive aggressive behavior.
  3. important but controversial topics are ignored or avoided.
  4. There is a lack of respect for other opinions or perspectives.
  5. Time and energy is wasted on politics and posturing.

Cohesive, high-performing, high-achieving teams are willing to disagree in the interest of finding the best ideas and the best solutions.  And, they can do so while maintaining respect and valuing each other’s unique skills and contributions.

If you’d like to learn more about building the kind of team that engages in constructive conflict in your organization, join me for my upcoming training session:  How to Eliminate Dysfunction and Build a Cohesive Team  It’s FREE.  Just click here to register.

#constructive conflict #teamwork #leadership #deliberateleader