6 Qualities That Make a Great Team Player

By Jennifer Herrity

Updated November 4, 2022 | Published October 7, 2019

Updated November 4, 2022

Published October 7, 2019

Jennifer Herrity is a seasoned career services professional with 12+ years of experience in career coaching, recruiting and leadership roles with the purpose of helping others to find their best-fit jobs. She helps people navigate the job search process through one-on-one career coaching, webinars, workshops, articles and career advice videos on Indeed's YouTube channel.

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View from above of people working on laptops in small groups while sitting at oval tables.

The ability to achieve goals in the workplace requires collaboration with others. Whether you’re currently part of a team or preparing to join a new one, developing strong teamwork skills can help you to succeed in your career—no matter your level or industry.

In this article, we discuss what it means to be a team player at work, the common characteristics of team players and how you can improve your own teamwork skills.

Key takeaways:

  • For every role, employers seek candidates who can work well in a team environment.

  • “Team players” typically have strong communication, collaboration, active listening, and problem-solving skills.

  • To build your teamwork skills, consult with your manager or a trusted coworker to identify your areas of improvement.

What is a team player?

A team player is someone who actively contributes to their group in order to complete tasks, meet goals or manage projects. Team players actively listen to their coworkers, respect ideas and aim to improve the product or process at hand. Team players understand that their team’s success is their own success, and they share responsibility when their team experiences difficulties along the way.

Team player qualities and characteristics

There are many common soft skills that make individuals great team players. While soft skills are not as easily learned as technical skills, they can certainly be developed with time and practice.

Here are several qualities you can focus on to be a better team player:

1. You understand your role

As a team member, you understand your role within the team and work to achieve your duties to the best of your ability. Though you may offer help or solutions to other team members, you also respect the boundaries of your position.

2. You welcome collaboration

Working with a team means there will be varying opinions and ideas. Even if you think your idea is best, you should listen to all ideas before pushing yours. Search for compromises, and remain respectful if your work is criticized.

3. You hold yourself accountable

Take responsibility for your mistakes and look for solutions. Understand how your actions impact the entire group. In doing so, you will learn from your errors and command more respect from your team.

4. You are flexible

You should readily accept any tasks your manager gives you. Flexibility in your role allows you to learn more and help your team. Look at every opportunity as a chance to learn.

5. You have a positive attitude

Maintaining a positive attitude even during stressful times helps the rest of your teamwork through that difficult time without getting upset. Your positive attitude will create a better atmosphere.

6. You commit to the team

You should be fully invested in the team. You will be a great team player if you can show others that you believe in the group, the process and the goals. This sort of positivity can radically increase morale and productivity.

Read More: How to Build Rapport

How to be a better team player

Working well with others shows that you are committed to achieving both personal and organizational goals. Displaying consistent teamwork skills also shows a strong work ethic, increasing your chances for raises, promotions and other earnings. No matter your experience level or position, continuously focusing on becoming a better team player will lead to success in your career.

Here are several ways you can focus on improving your teamwork skills:

  • Offer help. If you see a coworker who seems overwhelmed or is struggling to keep up with tasks, ask if you can help. Team players support each other during difficult times. Remember to ask for help, as well.

  • Actively listen. Active listening means carefully listening and thoughtfully responding to what your team member says. Ask questions about things you don’t understand.

  • Communicate. Keep your team updated on your progress and what you need to be successful in your job. You should be in constant communication with your team to ensure that everyone is working toward the same goal and no one is repeating work.

  • Respect others. Recognize that other team members are also trying to fulfill their roles, and consider how you can support them. Take the time to get to know your team. Everyone has a role to play that is no less critical than your own.

  • Be a problem-solver. When you recognize a problem, take action to solve it. Brainstorm solutions to your problems and ask for feedback.

  • Celebrate teammates' successes. If a member of your team succeeds in the workplace, so do you. It means you are one step closer to completing a goal. Celebrate their success. Also, stay updated on their personal lives and take the time to express interest and care.

If you’re unsure about what areas you need to improve to be a better team player, ask a trusted friend or colleague for honest feedback about your teamwork skills. Set SMART goals to improve those skills over time. You might also consider asking someone you respect in your industry to be your mentor. Seeking out someone who has strong teamwork skills can help you improve your own.

Collaboration is a crucial part of working successfully and learning how to be a positive force for your team is vital. When you aim to be a great team player, others will follow. In doing so, you can improve your workplace, grow personally and advance in your career.

Related: Top Resume Skills

Learn more about what hard skills and soft skills to put on a resume so it stands out from the others.

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