Most leaders are also good team members. One way of developing leadership qualities is to become a good team member when you are following other leaders.
To quote Benjamin Franklin: “He that cannot obey, cannot command”.
Listed below are some of the qualities that effective leaders look for in team members. Understanding this list is one way to practice becoming a good team member:
- Play your role to perfection. For this, you need to clearly understand your role and what is expected. Make sure that the role is aligned with your expertise. In some cases, you could be learning or developing a new skill “on the job”. That’s ok, but it must be clearly understood by you and your leader.
- Communicate clearly and in a timely fashion – remember good news must be reported quickly and bad news even more quickly to enable the leader take corrective action before it is too late.
- Ensure consistency in your demeanor, behavior and performance.
- Be someone that the team and the leader find reliable, become an indispensable team member.
- Don’t take on more than you can deliver satisfactorily. Satisfactorily means on time, complete and of a high quality. When there is no alternative and you are forced to take on a heavier load, do let the leader know. Leaders appreciate and recognize team members who take on heavy loads or go the extra mile. But a heavy load is no excuse for shoddy output.
- Communicate status often and clearly.
- Facilitate camaraderie. Bring your extra-curricular skills to relieve stressful situations or even break up the monotone. I have seen witty remarks break up stress quite effectively. Blend into the team culture.
- Identifying problems is a good skill to have. But a better skill is to also bring solutions along with the problem. Do your best to analyze the options available and even go as far as logically recommending the best option. You may not be the decision-maker, but you can certainly make it very easy for the leader to make the decision. This is a great skill to practice.
- Be prepared to debate and present differing viewpoints to enable the best decision to be taken.
- Irrespective of your proposal, fully support the final decision that is taken on behalf of the team.
- Find out which team member is struggling and help her/him out. If you can share their workload do so after finishing your share. Don’t wait for anyone to prompt you. As a leader, somehow I always notice these acts.
- Find out the leader’s main concern, and volunteer to help out. Remember it is very good for your leader to take credit for your work in front of her/his boss.
- Display good discipline – be on time, prepared and well-mannered at all times.
If you know of other tips to become a good team member please add them to this list. Do also put in your comments below.