14 Pragmatic Ways To Become A Better Co-Worker
Working as part of a team can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience, but it isn’t always easy. To ensure effective cooperation and collaboration among teammates, it’s up to each individual member to do their part to cultivate a team culture where all interactions flow in a productive manner that benefits the entire organization.
As a professional, you should always be focused on ways to optimize the team dynamic and become a better co-worker. Below, 14 members of Forbes Coaches Council share practical ways for professionals to be the best team players they can be for the greater good of the team and the organization.
1. Behave Intentionally To Show You Care
Be intentional about what you do and say to team members to demonstrate that you care for them as individuals and not just as co-workers or team members. Show interest and concern for their well-being and development. Let them know that their ideas are valued, their differences matter, and they add value by being a member of the team. These actions improve psychological safety and relationships. – Lisa Walker, Lisa Walker Consulting
2. Understand That The Role Is Not About You
Understand that the role is not about you. It is about the organization, the team and the client/customer. The more we all adopt an “it’s not about me” philosophy, the more win-win situations we find ourselves in. I have found that the higher up a professional goes on the “paygrade,” the less they adhere to this philosophy because it becomes more about them keeping what they have. – John Lowe, Ty Boyd, Inc.
3. Give People Your Full Attention And Listen
Listen. Be the last to speak. Focus on putting down your phone or computer and giving people your attention. Don’t multitask—attentive, active listening is a lost art. What you show through your actions can tell your team who you are more than any speech or commitment to action. – Maresa Friedman, Executive Cat Herder
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4. ‘Feed The Field’ With Elevated Emotions
To become an even better co-worker and team player, ask yourself, “What am I feeding the field?” Research from the Institute of HeartMath shows that our thoughts, attitudes and emotions emit energetic fields. If we care about how we feel, and we do our best to “feed the field” with elevated emotions such as ease, curiosity and compassion, we can improve the relationships with others in our life. – Vered Kogan, Momentum Institute
Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only community for leading business and career coaches. Do I qualify?
5. Practice Curiosity And Nonjudgmental Listening
Practice curiosity through nonjudgmental listening. Ask powerful questions with the intention of learning different perspectives. Share your own thoughts, experiences and ideas. Volunteer to take the lead to see an idea through, even if the idea was not yours. – Michelle Braden, MSBCoach, LLC
6. Be Aware Your Own And Others’ Communication Styles
Spend time enhancing your awareness of the way you communicate and how your co-workers receive information. This is one skill that can assist leaders in recognizing the emotional needs of their audience and “flexing” their communication style if they develop it. Understanding how our co-workers receive information will assist in building partnerships, avoiding conflict and enhancing team results. – Bryan Powell, Executive Coaching Space
7. Be Willing To Let Others Get To Know You
It may seem counterintuitive, but to be a better co-worker, you must be willing to let others get to know you. Many people subscribe to the philosophy of separation between personal and business, but when we approach work in this way, we cut ourselves off from building genuine relationships. If you want to be a better team player, you must be willing to bring your whole self to the team. – Cheryl Czach, Cheryl Czach Coaching and Consulting, LLC
8. Consider What’s Best For Everyone Involved
Make sure your actions, thoughts, and behaviors are supporting the greater good. Humans naturally want to take care of the “self” first. When you’re on a team, think about the “we” first. What is best for everyone involved? Ask yourself, “Why does this matter to me? To my team members? To my company? To our clients? To our community?” The bigger your perspective, the more thoughtful your actions. – Christie Garcia, Mindful Choice, LLC.
9. Take Personal Responsibility For Team Morale
Most people see morale as something that affects them, without taking stock of their own contribution. Ask yourself what you’ve done in the last week to positively contribute to team morale. If you can’t think of anything, buy everyone a box of donuts, some flowers or a round of coffees. Morale-building is not someone else’s job; it’s yours. – Steve McIntosh, CareerPoint.com
10. Work On Increasing Your Level Of Optimism
People love being around people who see the opportunity in a setback or problems as a setup for a comeback. Becoming optimistic at work is a worthy endeavor. Your worst criticism may be that you are “too optimistic,” or that you are “a little unrealistic” about things in a good way. Some people will tell you later that they appreciated your optimism during dark times. – John M. O’Connor, Career Pro Inc.
11. Enhance Your Self-Awareness And Empathy
Enhance your self-awareness and deepen your ability to be empathetic with your team. Professionals who practice empathetic leadership from a place of awareness often stand out for this, but they also build up teams that thrive on consideration and collaboration. The shift in the culture of the team will be undeniable, with a myriad of benefits, from short-term to longer-term. – Arthi Rabikrisson, Prerna Advisory
12. Be Clear On The Value You Bring To The Team
The professional must be clear on the value they bring to the team and organization. It is about knowing the role and how that role is synergized with other team members and stakeholders. Showing sincerity, being approachable and acting consistently are key qualities that will enhance the quality of team relationships. Authenticity goes a long way in building trust, which is foundational. – Thomas Lim, Singapore Public Service, SportSG
13. Assess Common Goals And How To Achieve Them
A professional can become a better co-worker and team player simply by asking their team members. I often do an exercise with teams where we look at their common goals and then ask what they need from each other—either individually or on the team level—to achieve them. An accompanying peer-to-peer question can be, “What do you need more or less of from me to make you successful and to make me a better team player?” – Jill Helmer, Jill Helmer Consulting
14. Shift To A More Collaborative Mindset
The first thing I would suggest is to shift to a collaborative mindset where 1 plus 1 is greater than 2. When you honor differences and leverage strengths on your team, you elevate both fulfillment and results. Provide a forum where people feel psychologically safe and valued, where they can take interpersonal risks and feel heard without shame or judgment. Tune in, listen, understand and always stay curious. – Jackie Insinger, Insinger Insights