Organizations which provide team building training to their employees recognize the power of what a high-performing team can accomplish, and they invest time and resources into building stronger, more collaborative teams. Team building videos and exercises can challenge employees to evaluate how they behave when on a team, and provide tips to improve communication, cooperation and trust.
But, what skills or personal characteristics make a good team player? Interestingly, the best teams are made up of very diverse people with different personalities, but that all coalesce by exhibiting self-awareness, interpersonal honesty, and mutual respect.
We all tend to have different “styles” when it comes to working in a team. Some of us tend to be task-oriented, wanting to focus the group on the steps needed to accomplish the goal, while some people are more comfortable communicating, working to mediate differences and talk through challenges and ideas. Others still are great at challenging – they naturally ask “why?” or “why not?” and question assumptions, forcing the team towards better innovation and critical thinking. No matter what our natural style, though, it’s important to be aware of how we interact in groups and be able to “dial back” our style when necessary, or even switch styles when the team needs it.
It’s important to understand that a good team player is not a “yes-person,” someone whose main concern is achieving consensus and not rocking the boat. As any good team building training will teach, teams only succeed when individual members feel safe enough to speak up when they disagree or feel something isn’t right. High-performing teams rely on members who are creative rather than conformist, and who bring interpersonal honesty to the table in order to push the group to higher standards.
With all the benefits of having a team comprised of diverse individuals – fresh ideas, different expertise and unique experiences – comes the potential for conflict and “head butting.” Therefore, team leaders and members should become adept at managing – not avoiding – conflict, and channeling it in productive ways. This begins by team members exhibiting mutual respect towards each other, even when they disagree. Behaviors like not interrupting when you disagree, listening with an open mind, and avoiding talking behind someone’s back all demonstrate respect. Because a clash of viewpoints is essential for creative, high-quality solutions.
CRM Learning offers numerous team building videos that help teams build trust and respect, learn their natural communication styles, and speak up against the status quo.
Team Building: What Makes a Good Team Player? focuses on Glenn Parker’s four types of team players, illustrating how groups can build on the strengths of each personality to reach team goals.
Groupthink – A powerful reenactment of events surrounding the launch of Space Shuttle Challenger helps viewers see how “groupthink” can lead to costly decisions.