How To Be a Good Team Player in 7 Steps

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 22 August 2022 | Published 26 June 2021

Updated 22 August 2022

Published 26 June 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

No matter the industry you are working in or position that you hold, teamwork is essential in maintaining a successful workflow. Being a team player means you collaborate well with others to complete tasks successfully. On top of your qualifications and experiences, hiring managers also appreciate good teamwork skills as they indicate that you are able to help your team accomplish goals efficiently. In this article, we discuss what a team player is and how to be a team player to help you work better with others.

What is a team player?

A team player is someone who prioritises the goals of the team above their own. Being a team player means that you have the necessary teamwork skills that enable you to work together in a team and help your entire team succeed. Being a team player does not necessarily mean that you are only successful while working in a team. There are many independent positions that require you to work on your own most of the time. Even so, such positions still require good teamwork skills as you can still communicate and collaborate with others eventually, at some point of the project.

Related: Interpersonal Skills Definition and Examples

How to be a team player

Here are steps you can take to improve your ability to collaborate with others on a team:

1. Develop good listening skills

One strategy you can use to be a good team player is to develop your listening skills. Being a good listener means you keep an open mind by paying attention to other team members' ideas and suggestions. When you are willing to listen to others' perspectives while working on a common goal, you may obtain valuable insights that can add value to the team. Individuals within the team usually have different perspectives on various problems, so getting input from every team member is important to producing creative ideas. Team players who listen to others can help the team become cohesive.

Example: You noticed that a team member was ignored during the team meeting. So, when there is an opportunity, you ask that member to share her ideas with the team. Because she was being asked directly to share, she was able to freely discuss her perspectives that turned out to be very creative. The team was able to incorporate her ideas into the project.

Also read: Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

2. Improve your ability to adapt

A team player can also adapt quickly to whatever role their leader assigns. As a team player, you can understand that you won't always get the tasks that you prefer to do. It's important to realise that the way your manager gives assignments is fairly dependent on each member's strengths and weaknesses. Whatever task your receive, you can be prepared to work hard to be a good team player.

Example: You expect to be appointed as a leader for next month's financial decisions discussion since you are the senior in the team. However, your boss appoints a junior to be in charge instead of you to give him the exposure and opportunity to learn. Thus, you agree to take a step back and even assist your teammate to perform his task well.

Related: Soft Skills Definition and Examples

3. Be well-informed and alert

A team player is aware and alert of their surroundings and always knows how other team members may be able to contribute to a project. As a team player, you can also know each team member well enough to fairly and wisely distribute tasks according to their abilities. A team player can also be willing to admit when someone else may be better than they are. This allows them to seek help when they know someone else has more experience or a more specific set of skills in completing the task.

Example: You are still learning to use the company's new graphic design software. When your design team is required to create a complex graphic using the new technology, you ask a junior employee to join you on the project. You know that the newer employee will likely receive more commendation for a good result than you will, but you value the success of the project over your own desire for recognition.

4. Develop your ability to be reliable

A good team player also knows that their behaviour can affect the entire team. Because of this, you can always be careful to complete your tasks efficiently and by the stipulated deadline. By completing your tasks well and on time, this allows the team to progress more efficiently. To be a team player, you can always fulfil your obligations and be careful to follow through on any promises. If you're a good team player, that means you take pride in being a coworker who others can rely on.

Example: You are a part of the marketing team in your company, and your main task is to create content. Your team knows you as someone who is creative, punctual, and reliable. When you receive a work assignment, you always see the tasks through to the end and never fail to contribute to team projects. Besides turning your assignments in on time, you volunteer to assist the rest of the team whenever they need. You also ensure you arrive punctually for meetings. Due to such great working ethics, your supervisor knows that she can rely on you to perform any tasks to the best of your ability.

5. Show others you're responsible

Team players know that when they are working as a part of a team, taking full responsibility for their share of the workload is important. So, being a team player, you can avoid passing your tasks over to another coworker, and instead work hard to complete your tasks consistently by yourself. In the case that you lack the skills or knowledge to complete an assignment, you can seek guidance instead of asking someone else to do it for you. As a team player, being trustworthy and dependable is a priority, and it can also show in the progress of the team.

Example: Your job as a customer service officer requires you to take calls from clients and customers. When you come into work late after a busy weekend, you fall behind on your required call quota. You have the choice to make up an excuse for underperforming or ask one of your coworkers to take some of your clients. However, you choose to speak to your supervisor instead and take full responsibility for being late. Your supervisor is happy to help you change your schedule and make up for the lost hours.

Related: Skills to Include in Your Resume

6. Be outgoing

A team player is always ready to help other members of the team. You can always volunteer to contribute your skills where it can benefit the team, offering help, and guiding fellow team members. Taking the initiative is important when you are working as part of a team. You may be the one volunteering and offering help this time, but you may also be the one seeking help in other instances. Having an outgoing personality as a team player ensures that everyone in the team is helpful toward each other, making the team tight-knit and bonded.

Example: You have a lot of practical experience with social media platforms. When you see that a team member is struggling to create a company account on a newly released platform, you immediately offer to help. You know that sharing your expertise may help your coworker to finish the assignment quickly and move on to other tasks, thus enhancing the productivity of the entire team.

Related: What Is Teamwork? (Plus Skills and Examples of Teamwork)

7. Improve your willingness to share

Good team players share, whether it is knowledge, ideas, expertise or even a bag of snacks that you are enjoying. Sharing with a fellow team member can help teams avoid miscommunications. This also means the team can meet its goals more quickly. Beyond formal meetings, a good team player needs to be willing to share news and information informally, on a day-to-day basis. This willingness to share keeps the whole team in the loop with the expertise and information that can help team members work better and faster.

Example: You are the only one in your team who has received training to operate the new financial platform in your company. In the coming project, the other team members are required to use this new platform as well in order to get their job done. So, being a team player, you offer to give a short training to the team members who need to use the platform so that they can get their job done more efficiently.

Explore more articles