The Importance of Being a Team Player

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Understanding the dynamics of the team is very important to know how you contribute to better the position of the team. This understanding can be achieved only when you ask questions and understand the reason for undertaking a task. Bangalore-based HR professional, Preeyan, dwells on the importance of the team, in the weekly column, exclusively in Different Truths.

Our generation has become very self-centred and solitary that we like doing a lot of things in isolation and have forgotten how it is to work together on something. We feel that two people doing the same job is team work. Think again! It is two people doing a different set of things to accomplish a task.

One task can only be done by one person, they may do a similar task but the variables in it will be different. At any workplace that is how to work also gets allocated. And that is where we misunderstand the meaning of working as a team.

We always are of the notion that doing our job and completing our tasks, on time makes us a team player. In the holistic sense of it, it takes much more to be a team player than just doing your job well.

Understanding the dynamics of the team is very important to know how you contribute or can contribute to better the position of the team. This understanding can be achieved only when you ask questions and understand the reason for undertaking a task. Managers will have to ensure that they get the entire team involved in such discussions so that you make the team realise the gravity of the situation and for team members, it is important for you to ask and understand.

There is nothing wrong in asking, people will be more than willing to talk to you. When it comes to seeking clarification, never hesitate. It will always help.

Once you have understood the requirement it is also important for you to know who is doing what. You may not be able to contribute much but understanding that may help you keep up with the rest of the team. The functions of a team are like a well-oiled machine, one component gets slippery the whole machine loses efficiency. The difference between machines and humans is that we all are the same. We may perform differently but can easily identify defects and rectify it. That is what makes a team strong. It is said that the strength of a chain is as much as its weakest link. Whereas in a team’s perspective due to the humanity the strength of the team is as much as the combined strength of the individuals.

No one wants to be considered a weak team player. The only way you can gain strength is by critically viewing your contributions. When someone from outside criticises you, it hurts, but when you criticise yourself you tend to start gaining strength. This strength is needed for you to positively influence your own performance. Being critical can also lead you to become pessimistic, now that’s something you don’t want. Pessimism is something which is good for a gambler but for a player, optimism will help you win. The desire to succeed will have to be as determined as anything else you may have done in life. Your determination and character are important and hence you need to critically analyse everything you do.

If you hold a strong position in your team, it gives you more time to look around and see if your contribution may be needed by another teammate who is probably struggling or not feeling too well that day. Please do not for one moment, think that you are taking up someone else’s job and you don’t get paid for it. This is usually what I have always heard from friends and colleagues who at that point in time did not have seniors, who could advise them about how a small contribution today can help the team get noticed and other such things. What we then accomplish as a team is much greater than the little time you spent helping a teammate. It can be any form of help, by physically doing something, morally supporting them, keeping time and reminding them of the time left, Positive encouragement, teaching new techniques and various other ways you can contribute to your team.

Keeping the place fun, it can start with you. The strongest team I have seen have always been the teams with the best happiness quotient. Individually every person may have different problems and pains but when in the team the happiness quotient is what takes the scales of positivity and strength up. Your best contribution can be as simple as sending a good morning message with a very positive note. Interesting thoughts, absolutely bizarre facts or whatever you think of that can bring in an element of happiness in it. Once one person starts then it just spills over.

Having lunches together. You will notice that there is this one group of people who sit together for lunch, they have fun, share food, have a healthy gossip session and jokes and everything else. This group will look like they are the happiest set of people alive and a lot of people will envy the position they are in. Invariably this team will be the best performing team in the organisation.

You need to know that you can make that with your team. Your team has not got close because you have not put an effort to do something about it. You have not tried to mingle with the team you work with and you have not chosen to spread happiness.

The best way to start something is by surprising yourself. Unless you make up your mind you cannot start anything.

In a team, remember it is always about “you”. “You” is the only word that can be both singular and plural while addressing people. And it will mean the same. Just ensuring that each one is able to contribute to the job at hand is not only your managers’ job, as a team member if you contribute that little bit, it will help the team be recognised and thereby help you grow to a different level.

As a team member continues to contribute. Your contribution will never end till you are part of a team even as you evolve.

Will come back with more next week, until then


©Preeyan Abraham

Photos from the internet.

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Preeyan Abraham is a HR professional. He loves travelling and all the little intricacies that it brings. A foodie, he enjoys cooking for relaxation. A movie buff and music lover, he appreciates simple things in life. He comes from a mix of religious backgrounds that has helped him appreciate all the good things of what all religions have to see. He looks at life as a platform created to perform and give the best.