Lone Wolves No More: Why Being a Strong Team Member Is So Important

In this day and age, everything is team-driven. In education, business and life, there is universal recognition that strong, diverse teams get things done better, faster and easier.

Make no mistake about it, in the business world, now more than ever, you must know how to be a strong team member.

gs-class-photoA recent study from Harvard Business Review found that ‘‘the time spent by managers and employees in collaborative activities has ballooned by 50 percent or more’’ over the last two decades and that, at many companies, more than three-quarters of an employee’s day is spent communicating with colleagues.

The statistics are staggering. 

In an article entitled, “The Secrets of Great Teamwork,” Harvard Business Review says, “Today’s teams are different from the teams of the past: They’re far more diverse, dispersed, digital and dynamic.” Harvard Business Review goes on to say that teams of today require compelling direction, strong structure, supportive context and shared mindset.

So how can you set yourself up to succeed within this teamwork-driven infrastructure? In a Mind Tools article entitled, “How to be a Great Team Player” they suggest the following:

  • Use Your Strengths: Do what you do best! Find a role within your team that allows you to make a meaningful contribution.
  • Understand the Team’s Objectives: Make sure you understand the group’s goals. Ask questions about your role and expectations. Communicate. Be clear.
  • Be Reliable: Deliver on your promises. On time. Hold up your part of the equation. Have high, consistent standards. Let people know they can count on you.
  • Be a Good Communicator: Be involved. Participate. If you don’t contribute, you are not being helpful. Show support, challenge ideas if appropriate.
  • Stay Flexible: Things can change quickly. Don’t fight it. A team is a living, breathing, thing and adaptation is necessary.

Being a good team member isn’t always easy. But if you approach it with a positive, participative mindset, it could be a great opportunity to garner respect and recognition in your organization.

Remember: You can go fast alone, but you can go farther together.