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How to be an effective team member

 

At every level of an organisation, professionals need to be able to work effectively as part of a team. Most professionals will have been involved in such projects and day-to-day group activities, and will know that, even with the best intentions, teamwork almost never runs as smoothly as it probably should. An individual might perceive that others are not contributing equally, that someone is dominating proceedings, or that a team member is not listening to valid suggestions. These might be valid concerns, but it is also good practice to look at your own performance in the team, to make sure you are also operating as an effective team member.

 

Offer support

 

It is important, particularly where a group needs to be creative, to properly listen to other team member’s ideas and suggestions. Be sure that you are always actively engaged in hearing what they say, and make a point to be supportive – even if this means being constructively critical. This makes others more ready to contribute and leaves them feeling that you interested in what they have to say.

 

Don’t hold back

 

Teamwork may sometimes drag you away from other work and responsibilities. However, it is important that you engage with it fully, and play an active role in any group sessions. Be ready to communicate and ask questions, and don’t hold back if you need clarification or disagree on the way that things are proceeding.

 

Avoid blame

 

When things go awry in a group project, avoid the instinct to start laying blame at others’ doors. There might be valid reasons why a project deadline or meeting has been missed, while people will lose respect if you constantly avoid responsibility for things that were under your control.

 

Set goals and deadlines

 

Sometimes a meeting will produce a great deal of ideas and discussion, but people will leave with very little idea of what is expected of them. Be sure that every meeting produces clear and understood goals and deadlines, with every team member aware of what they need to produce. If you aren’t sure – ask: a lack of personal clarity on a deadline doesn’t mean it’s not there! 

 
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