Ten Traits of Effective Team Members
by Kevin Eikenberry
People always want to know what will make them successful. This is especially true when they have been placed on a team. Whether it is their first or fifty-first team experiences, they want to succeed both as an individual and help the team as well. Following is a list of ten characteristics of effective team members, regardless of industry or setting. Each of these traits will help the individual and the team to have greater success.
Effective team members are Committed. To be successful at any endeavor, we must be committed to success. Successful teams are comprised of individuals who want the team to ďwinĒ. Effective team members are people who are willing to do what it takes to help the team reach its goals.
Effective team members are focused on the Teamís Objectives. Commitment is fine, but people must be committed to the right things. Effective team members take the time to understand the goals and objectives of the team, then remain focused on those objectives. They are constantly monitoring their own work to make sure it is in alignment with the goals and objectives of the team.
Effective team members are Supportive. A team is a complex set of personal interactions. Effective team members know this and do what they can to improve those relationships. They help others. They provide a positive outlook to meetings and tasks. They do what they can to improve morale. They help everyone see the teamís common goal. All of these things make good team members good followers. And good leaders.
Effective team members are Competent. Of course to be an effective team member you must be able to do your own work well. You must be able to inventory the product, write the marketing brochure, complete the action item, or even block and tackle! Task competence is critical. Effective team members continue to practice the skills of their profession, making them continually more effective.
Effective team members are Collaborative. Effective team members understand and believe in synergy. They know that one of the major reasons for forming a team is to bring together the unique skills and perspectives of different people. Because of this understanding, they actively work with other team members in a collaborative way.
Effective team members Provide Feedback. Feedback is the engine for skill development. Skillful feedback, with pure intent is the prevention (and solution) to most conflicts. People need feedback to stay on track and to progress. Effective team members know the value of feedback and work to give it effectively, at the right time and with pure intent. Because of the value they place on it, they also actively seek feedback on their performance and behaviors with other team members.
Effective team members are Good Communicators. Communications is the stuff of personal relationships, and relationships are a major part of any team. Therefore effective team members are vigilant about improving their communication skills. This pays off in their individual work and in enhancing the overall teamís effectiveness as well.
Effective team members value and build Trust. Trust is a cornerstone of highly effective teams. Building trust takes time, especially if past history between team members has left scars and rifts. Effective team members know that every action and interaction is an opportunity to build . . . or reduce . . . trust.
Effective team members are Proactive. Effective team members realize that every new effort, or initiative, or task of the team requires someone to ďget the ball rolling.Ē While they donít need to spearhead each new task, they are willing to step up to the plate. Most importantly, they donít sit back and wait for things to happen, they proactively move forward to make things happen for the teamís benefit.
Effective team members are Learners. Being an effective individual contributor requires learning. Our world is changing rapidly, and so we all must learn to keep up, or stay ahead. This is even truer for teams. The relationships between, and individual expertise of, a variety of people make teams an important way to do high quality work. But to make those teams ever more effective requires learning not only about the tasks and work processes, but also about the individuals on the team and on team dynamics. For all of these reasons, a bias towards learning is perhaps the most important trait of all for an effective team member.
Kevin Eikenberry is a leadership expert and the Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group (http://KevinEikenberry.com), a learning consulting company. To receive a free Special Report on leadership that includes resources, ideas, and advice go to http://www.kevineikenberry.com/leadership.asp or call us at (317) 387-1424 or 888.LEARNER.