What does it mean to be a good team player?

Knowing how to work in a team is often hailed as the ultimate skill for work. A good team player is a manager’s dream – after all, it’s unlikely that any of us will ever work in complete isolation. So what does it mean to be a good team player? Stacey Dooley discusses.

You’ll sometimes hear people say: “One team, one dream” and "There is no I in team", and I actually think there is a lot of truth in that.

In the work place, it is always important you get your own work done, do a good job and are reliable and consistent, of course. But a key skill that is sometimes forgotten is being able to work smoothly as part of a team, and that’s an essential quality that all employers look for.

When I look back at all the work I’ve done, there has always been a team of people who have supported me, worked alongside me or helped me out along the way. When you are taking your first steps into the working world, team work becomes more and more critical because you are often starting at the bottom, and that usually means doing things as part of a group.

So what does it mean to be a good team player? I can tell you that, if your starting point is respecting those alongside you, you are on the right track! Being considerate and kind might sound obvious, but they truly are the qualities that make the working world go round. Another key thing is quickly working out where your own skills lie and how you fit in to the bigger group, so that you can contribute to the end goal.

Watch The Nine to Five with Stacey Dooley on iPlayer
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Working seamlessly

During my filming with the five amazing teens that took part in my new series, The Nine To Five, teamwork was something they needed to demonstrate in every workplace we visited. Imagine five teens on the ultimate work experience: they had to learn to both work together, and to divide up their time and skills to get the job done to the highest possible standard.

While doing their work experience at Heathrow Airport, for example, the team were set the task of finding electronic cables hidden under the ground, with only the help of a map and a special detector. They had to talk to each other first and make a plan for how to get the job done, and with a team strategy things were done properly and quickly. So the roles were divided up into who was best at map reading, who was best with using the metal detecting device and so on. That speeded up the whole operation, and they worked seamlessly together to combine their skills and get the job done brilliantly.

They also realised that, because they were there working as a team, if someone wasn’t good at one particular job, they could watch and learn from the others and then have a go themselves – and this was a real joy to watch.

"Working as a team makes me feel a lot more secure, a lot more confident."

Share your strengths

Team work means just that: you can share your strengths with others and they will share theirs with you.

Much like in a great sports team, you want to work together for the good of the whole group, of the whole company you work for. Being a tiny little bit competitive is OK, as it can encourage you to improve yourself and your performance, but don’t be tempted to chase personal glory at the expense of your team’s success and wellbeing. Finally, while it’s true you can often get the job done quicker if you work together, it is still important to pull your weight and take responsibility for your own work.

Teamwork is a skill you will use throughout your working life. Trust the people you work with, believe in your capability and theirs, and watch the team live the dream!

The Nine to Five teens get a word from their manager for being late for work.
"We're not late to work, everyone else is erm...early?"
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