It may seem like an overstatement, but the ability to work well (or not-so-well) on a team can make (or break) your career. Period. Great team players are able to do more, get greater satisfaction from their work and make a bigger impact on their companies. With the help of a few of our friends and Entrepreneurs in Residence, we’ve got you covered with advice on building this key skill.
The Skill Set: 5 Ways to Work Well on a Team
Be authentic and vulnerable
“Vulnerability allows people to share and express themselves in a space where they’re not afraid,” says CatalystCreativ founder Amanda Slavin. Authenticity is key to building trust among your co-workers. “People have to feel like you care about them—and they won’t feel that way unless you actually care about them,” says Ivanka.
Support one another
“More and more women are refusing to compete with other women in the workplace, opting instead to lift up other women at work in concrete, change-making ways,” shares executive coach and Entrepreneur in Residence Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin. “Look around your workplace and ask yourself: am I lifting up the women I work with, women on my team and women who could use my mentorship? If not, it’s time to act. The truth of women’s leadership is that, in fact, there is plenty of room for all of us at the top, and when one of us succeeds, we all win.”
Be a good listener
In meetings, really listen to what your colleagues have to say, rather than rushing to get to your own ideas. Support their thoughts—don’t be quick to shoot them down or contradict them. Whether you agree or disagree with what they have to say, be thoughtful and considerate in your responses.
“Gossip inevitably blows back on the person circulating it, most often in the form of performance reviews that question the focus of the employee on the true task at hand: their work,” says Elizabeth. “Place your attention on your performance and your productivity, and leave the water cooler gossip to others.
Prioritize getting to know your colleagues
Check in with your co-workers each day—it could be as simple as a 10-minute chat in the morning or a quick midday coffee date. Plan a team activity (monthly happy-hours in the conference room, team lunches, group fitness challenges). Whatever your team has time to commit to, set a regular date—for example, the first Wednesday of every month—and stick to it.
Download a cheat sheet with these tips here.
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