5 Ways To Become A Better Teammate At Work

5 Ways To Become A Better Team Member At Work

We’ve all been stuck collaborating with that one colleague we wished would work with the rest of the team, and if you haven’t, there’s a good chance that person was you. Luckily for us, collaborating effectively in a group setting is a skill you can hone so long as you are open to feedback and self-reflection. Here are a few valuable things to keep in mind when growing as a valued member of the team in your workplace: 

#1 – Express Your Weaknesses And Preferred Roles Upfront

There’s little more frustrating than waiting for a colleague to deliver on a task only for them to return and say they need experience or skills vital to completion. You can avoid stress by being upfront about your skill set and any trepidation about tackling your share of a team project. When you swallow your pride and communicate your weaknesses in advance, 9 times out of 10, your team will be excited to adjust your role or provide valuable resources to help you complete your deliverables to everyone’s satisfaction.  

#2 – Encourage Your Colleagues With Honest Praise

Part of being a valuable team member is recognizing when someone else excels and uplifting them. Mentioning to others on the team about a team member’s great job helps unify and strengthen the team dynamic. It encourages a positive cycle of similar hype-ups for yourself and your colleagues, promoting increased group cohesion and morale. 

#3 – Plan Ahead To Overcome Your Shortcomings

If you know you tend to scramble last-minute right before the deadline, shift your deadline date in your reminders one or two days before the actual due date, and treat that as the new deadline. That way, if something disrupts your mad dash to get everything done, you’ve planned with a buffer that keeps you on track without letting the whole team down. 

If you’re aware that you’ll experience hurdles to completing your share of tasks for the team, be open and honest about them immediately. A team worth its salt will be understanding and, in many cases, willing to adapt to accommodate your needs. 

#4 – It’s Okay To Be Wrong, So Long As We’re Learning

Mistakes happen, and that’s okay so long as you’re not making the same mistakes repeatedly. Try not to dwell on your slip-ups, and constantly avoid self-deprecating over them to the rest of the team because when you put yourself down in front of the group, your team will eventually see you that way, and they will no longer trust you’re capable of holding up your end of the task. Instead, own up to it and be open to valuable feedback, then implement changes to avoid making those same mistakes in the future. 

#5 – Be The Part That Improves The Whole  

The most important thing to remember about working within a team dynamic is that nobody expects you to shoulder the entire load. Look to others with more experience for advice and assistance without burdening them unduly, and look for opportunities to hold others up when they need a helping hand. A rising tide raises all ships, so what’s good for the group is great for everyone! Good luck on your next team task – I believe in you!

How To Be An Inspiring Leader (Even If You’re Not in a Position of Authority)

How To Be An Inspiring Leader (Even If You're Not in a Position of Authority)

You don’t need to be in charge to be someone others look to for guidance and leadership. Managers are constantly looking for standout colleagues they can trust who can command the reins while away from the team on pressing business. Here are a few specific ways you can become an inspiring leader.

Help Others Detach Fear From The Unknown

When there’s an apparent lack of leadership, imagination may run wild, leading to destructive speculation about what disasters await failure should a decision or project go awry. Instead of feeding the fear. Be the inspiring leader who diffuses those fears. Keep everyone focused on the task and the positive outcome that awaits the team once the work is done. You’ll become the person people approach for guidance when they experience unfounded fears over unknowable outcomes. 

Be The One Who Listens 

Everyone likes to hear themselves talk, especially when there’s no clear focus in the room, like a team leader or manager. Instead of competing to be the loudest voice in the room, listen. Qualify the ideas of others who speak up and bring others into the conversation by prompting their thoughts on the matter. By bringing everyone together through active listening and supporting your colleagues’ ideas, you’ll grow to become an anchor people look to for support when they’re trying to relay their ideas to the rest of the team. 

Quell Dissent

We’ve all been in a meeting where the second the manager in charge leaves the room; someone starts bad-mouthing their decision-making or directives. The time to nip that destructive talk is the first time it happens, but it’s never too late to step up and remind everyone to exercise a little professionalism. There are productive ways to disagree with management, but once a direction has been chosen, it’s the team’s job to deliver, and being the glue that holds a group in unison by dispelling destructive talk makes you someone who can be trusted to say what needs to be said.

When You Notice Greatness In Others, Say So

It’s encouraging to hear you’re doing well from your peers. Most people can spot a shallow or self-serving compliment from a mile away. Still, you’ll genuinely connect with your colleague whenever you can zero in on a specific, work-related job done exceptionally. Beyond that, tell their superiors what a great job they’re doing, especially if you’re on the same upward trajectory within the company! Doing so expresses confidence that others will value and look to whenever a genuine opinion is needed come performance review time. 

You Don’t Have To Be in a Position of Authority To Be A Great Leader

Ultimately, someone has to take the lead in group work settings to maintain focus, direction, and cohesion when the boss leaves her team to achieve their goals. That leader may as well be you. Consider these ideas, and when you see an opportunity to flex your leadership muscles, go for it! It takes time and lots of practice to become a great leader. Every opportunity is another chance to grow into the type of person others look to for guidance, inspiration, feedback, and reassurance. Get out there and cultivate your leadership qualities in your next team setting!

5 Ways To Stand Out In Team Meetings

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Team meetings can become battlegrounds where colleagues jockey for position, jousting with words, experience, and presence for approval and consideration for advancement and accolades within companies of all sizes. Navigating tense meetings can often feel like make-or-break moments where careers are decided, and trust is forged or shattered with every contribution. 

So how can you stand out as a valuable, essential member during team meetings? Here are several great ways to make your mark during your next team meeting:

Be The Most Prepared Person In The Room

Study up on the meeting agenda before the meeting itself and come prepared with answers to questions you think others may ask. If the plan is vague, send a quick email to your manager or the meeting organizer asking for a quick rundown of the main topics they’ll bring to the table. 

Knowledge is power. When you arrive prepared, you’ll appear confident and reliable just by having a few choice contributions waiting in your back pocket compared to team members who just waltzed in late and are more concerned about their venti latte. 

Whenever you’re able to speed up a meeting by offering information immediately to answer a question or set up a topic of conversation, you’re showing you value everyone’s time enough to come prepared. In today’s high-speed corporate world, you cannot buy or fake this kind of trustworthiness. 

Those Who Are Loudest in Meetings Often Have The Least To Say

Being the person who jumps in the most during meetings often has a negative social effect overall, as teams will often equate that to “spotlight syndrome,” where they’ll feel an over-speaker is talking just to be heard and not for the good of the team. 

You do not have to be the one who answers every single question, nor do you need always be the first to offer up responses during pauses in the conversation to be noticed. Those who choose this strategy come off as selfish or attention-seeking for their efforts. The key is to speak efficiently when you do have the floor, stay on task, and treat those you’re talking to with a respectful benefit of the doubt. When you encounter teammates who are overstepping just to be noticed, let them. More often than not, they will fizzle themselves out as they flounder, trying to appear relevant, and when the conversation lulls as a result, you can swoop in with a concise talking point to bring everyone back on track, which will endear you to management and your colleagues for righting the ship.  

Kill Them With Kindness

Empathy is at a premium, and those who can not only maintain their composure during stressful meetings but help their colleagues do the same, are regarded with immense value by management during group meetings. Fear is a powerful motivator; it takes real emotional fortitude to see past the negative possibilities and focus on what is possible with earnest collaboration. 

If your contributions rally people toward the common goal, that’s the epitome of being a team player! Nay-saying and baseless argumentative “what-ifs” may sound productive on the surface but are usually fruitless fear-mongering that wastes valuable time and sows unnecessary worry throughout the team. Focus on being a thoughtful, positive contributor by uplifting others while reinforcing your positive contributions to the conversation.

Review The Previous Meetings And Thank The Presenter

While not necessary after every meeting, it is a thoughtful gesture to send a timely message of thanks to whoever championed the meeting and offer a few uplifting comments about specific insights you gleaned from their contributions. Most people will be surprised at first but will welcome a quick note of appreciation for the work they put into presenting in front of the whole team. 

Building connections this way will often open the door to collaborating or asking for your thoughts in the future, which is a great networking opportunity that can lead to projects and even promotions or future job opportunities!

Summarize The Expectations Going Forward Prior To The Wrap-Up

When the meeting is winding down, be the one who asks for clarification on the expectations for everyone between now and the next meeting. What are the expected goals team-wide? Who has to focus on which core responsibility? Does everybody understand what they must do between now and your next meeting? Are there any points of confusion that need clearing up before everyone breaks for lunch? 

By championing points of clarity for your team, you’re looking out for both individuals and the greater good of the entire team, which saves time and confusion for everybody and helps everyone hit the ground running!

Team meetings can feel treacherous, but if you keep these tips in mind, you’ll be much more helpful, trusted, and welcomed during your next meeting.

5 Quick Tips for Leading a Remote Team Well

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Since Covid-19 first hit over 2 years ago, more and more companies have started to lead remote team full-time or in a hybrid. Obviously, managing a team in person and leading your team while they work from home is quite different.

Here are 5 quick tips that will make employees feel supported while they work remotely.

1.   Set up recurring one-on-one connection points

This will go a long way towards helping employees with specific problems they are trying to deal with and allowing them to say something they don’t feel comfortable bringing up in an all-staff meeting.  Also, help with developing a good working relationship and providing specific support they may need.

2.   Set clear expectations, and then trust employees to meet them.

Here are two crucial parts of leading remote teams effectively. If there are only vague expectations, expect dismal results. Lay out all procedures step-by-step and some ways to troubleshoot problems should they come across them. Remote employees are more productive, partly because they can work at their own pace on their timetable, which means if they know they are more productive in the mornings, they have the autonomy to choose that time to get the work done that requires the most brain power.

3.   Use technology to create systems.

Many apps and desktop systems help you manage the process you expect employees to follow. You can set up tasks, due dates, status up dates, chats, and helpful tools to keep the wheels running smoothly!

4.   Set (and stick to) meeting time limits

“Short daily scrums versus two-hour-long meetings are helping businesses encourage communication, identify problems faster, work on them quickly, become more agile, and develop a good cadence in the long run.” (Source) It gives you a nice quick face-to-face with everyone, lets you set the priorities for the day, and answer questions. You want people to leave the meetings feeling energized and ready to tackle their goals instead of drained.

5.   Celebrate team and individual successes!

“Clarify how you measure success and make sure the metrics focus not only on quality, time, and financial factors but also on personal well-being.” When the team is near a goal, make sure everyone knows it. When you accomplish a goal, don’t go right into the next mile marker without taking a moment to recognize the hard work and effort of everyone on the team who helped accomplish this goal. Celebrating individual successes can be done one-on-one or in front of others, depending on how you think they’d receive the praise best.

When every team member feels heard and seen, it’s not hard to kickstart their productivity towards a common goal. Keep these 5 tips in mind as you plan to improve your leadership skills continually.