by: The Memo Staff
If you've ever been part of a group, you know that it can be...challenging. Schedules differ, ideas differ, personalities differ, commitment levels differ, and everyone's idea of quality differs. And some people are hard to work with.
At The Memo, we’ve been in our fair share of group projects. Many of our most memorable groups were in graduate school. We were working full-time jobs and trying to find time in between classes and work to get things done. Some of our groups were not so great. However, other groups were, and in addition to a great final product, some teammates turned into lifelong friends and colleagues.
Working in groups doesn’t end in school. Depending on the industry you're in, collaborating and working well with others is a prerequisite for being successful.
We all know what a bad teammate looks like, but what qualities make you a good team member
Here are four tips to make you a better teammate:
- Step Up: Have you ever been in a group or committee and someone had to be the “leader.” Many might naturally choose the role of note-taker or might opt out of volunteering altogether. This is the perfect opportunity for you to take on the leadership role you’ve been wanting. I know it can be scary to lead, but this signals to the other members in your group that you have leadership written all over you! Don’t let someone else’s narrative of you shape what they think you’re capable of doing because you never took the lead. Ruchika Tulshyan wrote a phenomenal article in The Harvard Business Review that will make you think twice before offering to take the notes next time.
- Show Accountability: This boils down to doing what you say you will do. When roles get assigned, make sure you aren’t taking a backseat and are contributing to the development of the project. And if as a group, you have agreed to get something done on a certain date, make sure to have it done. Not doing so can slow down the progress of other people’s work, making you “that person” who didn’t do what they said they would. On the flip side, if you’re the person who does all the work in the group, make sure you’re holding others accountable to do what they say they will do. Nothing is worse than a person who has done nothing towards the success of a project but takes all the accolades for its completion.
- Know When To Use Your Voice: When you’re working in a group, remember it’s a group, so that means you’re not the only person that has responsibility. Again, try not to be “that person” that monopolizes the conversation and takes over. Don’t be the one showing out every time the group comes together and no one gets a word in edgewise. A few things to keep in mind: 1) Step up and say what you need to say. 2) Step back and let someone else speak. 3) If you have a lot to say, make sure it’s concise and brief; don’t hover in the air and never get to your point; learn how to land the plane. Your team will thank you for it.
- Be Inclusive: You may be the type of person who has no trouble speaking up, while another person in your group hasn’t said a word. This quiet person may have lots of great ideas for moving your team’s work forward. Look around to see who isn't participating, and why. Ask them what they think, and you may be surprised by what they share and contribute!