I love team dynamics and organizational structures. I have written many times about what makes a healthy team, my expectations of team members, and elements to build health into your team. I’m not sure I’ve talked specifically about the characteristics I believe make up excellent team members.
Here are 5 characteristics of an excellent team member:
Needs very little direction – Catches on quickly, learning the leader’s expectations, having confidence in his or her ability, and knowing the vision of the organization well enough to make routine decisions with little or no input from the leader.
Asks specific questions when unclear of an assignment - He or she doesn’t ask general questions, that require full explanations, but rather attempts to figure out the issue on his or her own enough to ask specific questions. This saves everyone time and speeds progress.
Needs very little supervision – An excellent team member follows through on what he or she committed to do with limited oversight.
Recognizes results as part of the reward – While fair compensation is necessary for the health of any team and most leaders can improve on giving praise, the excellent team player does the work to see the results of a project done well, not exclusively for recognition.
Considers the interests of the entire team - Excellent team members look out for good of the whole team…the entire organization. He or she wants what is best for everyone, even if that means they have to personally sacrifice for the win of the team.
I realize, and fully expect to hear, that to be an excellent team member requires an excellent team environment and leader. I can somewhat agree, but not sure I do completely. I have known people who perform excellently on a dysfunctional team. I’d welcome your thoughts on this.
I’m confident there are plenty more characteristics to add to my list. I’d love to hear from you.
In your experience, what makes an excellent team member?