How to Become a Contributing Team Member
In today’s workplace, you are expected to be contributing team players, usually serving on several teams at once. You have teams that are comprised entirely of individuals within your work group, cross-functional and project teams that consist of colleagues from across the organization, and teams that include people from other organizations, such as consultants, vendors, and clients.
Your ability to be seen as a contributing, valuable member on these teams can have a significant impact on achieving your career goals. Gaining a reputation as a valuable team member impacts your current work goals, your relationships at work, your opportunities for team leadership, and the degree of satisfaction and motivation you feel in your job. Here are some characteristics of a contributing team member.
Focused Listening Skills
For the whole team to operate efficiently, you need to focus on the input of others, integrate the message, and act on it without having to be reminded.
Cooperative and Supportive Attitude Toward Other Individuals on the Team
For any team to achieve its full potential, you, as an individual team member need to set aside your own personal agenda and support the other members of the team. Nothing slows down the forward progress of a team more than individuals who have uncooperative attitudes. You may not always be in total alignment with the direction of your team, but you need to support your colleagues and leaders, and cooperate with them to achieve the desired team outcomes.
Consistency in Preparation and Performance
All work teams function by individuals doing their part and then handing it off to others on the team. If you are poorly prepared or perform your tasks inconsistently, you slow down the entire team effort. Teams live and die by the amount of trust they have in each other, and consistency is the most important element in the gaining of trust.
Skilled in Planning, Organizing, and Time Management
Because of the intricate way that workloads are shared and sequenced in a team, you must be skilled in planning your role, organizing your individual workload, and completing your function in a way that enables everyone else to complete their work on time.
Knowledgeable and/or Experienced in Team Role
An ideal team member has the training, knowledge, and experience to perform effectively in their role. If your role is new to you and you lack the desired experience, you have the responsibility to make up that deficit through study, mentoring, or additional training.