One of the themes that comes up in all of our leadership communication workshops is the concept of “how to be a good teammate.” People always seem interested in the steps towards being a better leader and a better teammate. First do this… then do this… then do this… People like specific steps, and information that can be saved in lists.
But the first step towards being a great person to work with has nothing to do with any specific action. It is not about anything you might do. It has everything to do with what is going on inside you. Being a great leader, a great follower or a great teammate starts with caring about other people. You have to enjoy seeing people succeed. You have to care what they think. You have to want to hear what they have to say. You have to be comfortable sharing credit and not making it all about you.
There are lots of things you have to do to be a good teammate, and those things will differ a bit depending on where you sit on the organizational chart. But regardless, being great to work with starts with taking an interest in other people first, and being able to control your own ego and not have to make everything all about you. If you can do that, if you can control the ego, and if you can really care about the success of others, you now have the opportunity to be a great teammate. Then, and only then, can we have a meaningful conversation about the specific steps you can take to be a great teammate. Without first having the proper attitude first, the steps won’t matter.
So, ask yourself… what kind of teammate are you? For today’s discussion, I think there are three ways to categorize teammates: You are the type of colleague who either legitimately cares about the success of others; doesn’t really care but knows you should, so you fake it; or just doesn’t care at all. We could probably make it more complicated than that, but let’s #KeepItSimple today.
What kind of teammate are you? Be honest.
Have a great day.
At The Latimer Group, we believe that successful teams are built on honesty, open communication, and collaboration. For more on team building and team communication, look for Dean Brenner’s book, Sharing the Sandbox: Building and Leading Great Teams in the 21st Century, on sale now.
Photo: Chris Potter