Ever noticed that some people just aren’t team players? I’m sure you have. Leadership is all about finding a way to bring out the best in people, regardless of their natural personality type. In a thriving workplace, is it really a problem if people choose to adopt an individualistic mindset as opposed to striving to work as a team? If the answer is yes, drill down into the specifics: who is it really a problem for and why?
Being a quality leader isn’t always easy and it’s definitely not about being popular. Sometimes, leaders need to call behaviours out for exactly what they are. Let’s think about some of the behaviours that typically indicate an employee’s lack of willingness to work with others in their team. I often hear things like:
- Doesn’t share knowledge
- Fails to engage in the small talk
- Appears to be disinterested in their colleagues and their contributions
- Prefers not to attend team meetings / functions
If you’re a manager or leader of some kind, think back to how some of these conversations have gone in the past. How might they have gone if you called such behaviour out for exactly what it was? Perhaps this is something to keep up your sleeve the next time you need to have that difficult conversation with a team member.
The reality is that most successful leaders and businesses understand that functioning as a team is crucial to an organisation’s long-term success. They promote high levels of trust within their team, dependability as well as accountability. Communication is at the heart of a thriving team - people need to trust that they can speak freely without their words coming back to bite them later. The most successful teams genuinely care for one another, work well through thick and thin and have each other’s backs.
Ever heard the saying or been told to “keep your personal life out of the workplace?” In 2018 and beyond, leaders understand more and more that it’s impossible to prevent our lives from overlapping at times. If a team member is experiencing serious personal issues, their work is going to be impacted. The best leaders exercise compassion and understanding, while keeping the realities of business in perspective.
Being perceptive is also vital to good leadership. Great managers and leaders notice the little things…like if everyone on the team is really celebrating when the business scores a win. If someone doesn’t seem all that thrilled, they are curious to learn why. Without connection, how would you possibly even know if someone was unhappy? The best leaders make an effort to connect regularly with the people they lead and on many different levels. They actively check in on people’s performance, they care about them as people first, they’ve made the effort to build the kind of trusting relationship in which they can ask if people are happy and they genuinely want to know (and hear) how they’re looking to grow and evolve in the workplace.
Every single one of us is responsible for creating relationships that allow us to thrive in the workplace within our various teams - this applies even more if you’re a senior team member! Always question how you can improve your team skills and which team you should be playing in, considering your long-term career goals.
If you feel out of your depth or you’re not equipped to become the best team player that you can become alone, seek support. The team at OnTalent is always here and ready to help however we can!
Continue being great at what you do and sharing your knowledge with others. The world needs more mentors! Engage with others, and you just might learn something new.
Deborah Wilson is a Thought Leader in Executive Careers. She takes a personalised approach to strategic career coaching and career transitions, mentoring, and leadership development. Deborah provides expert guidance for individuals while supporting organisations through change and connecting people and purpose. Call Deborah on +61 403 779 746. www.ontalent.com.au