As Toronto recruiters we regularly see job postings that ask for candidates who are team players. But what makes a strong team player? Interestingly, it’s not as straight forward as you might think.
Here are the 7 characteristics of people who make a real difference to their teams.
They Speak Up
True team players understand how their responsibilities advance the team’s objectives. And although it may not be a popular position, they’ll respectfully seek clarification if they’re asked to do something that’s not in alignment with this goal. Self-confident managers will see this as a constructive checks and balance system where leadership comes from everyone.
Have you ever been staring at your computer in dismay because you don’t have the energy for one more pivot table? A great team player is the kind of person who offers a few words of encouragement at times like these.
Job postings are increasingly looking for accounting and finance professionals who are active listeners. This is because active listening leads to better communication and performance. Why? Because people learn to listen to understand, not just to reply.
This results in an increase in team performance as people gain knowledge of each other’s individual drivers and how to present information so that’s it relevant to that person.
Resource: Here’s an article from Forbes called “10 Steps to Effective Listening” to help you learn how to be a more active listener.
Sometimes a team’s outcome really is riding on a particular person’s shoulders. A team player works the extra hours to make sure that the team achieves its objectives – and they don’t complain or look for praise as they do it. To a team player, it’s all part of the process.
They Don’t Gossip
Gossip is the poison that can undermine a high functioning team. Team players don’t talk about their colleagues behind their backs, and they’re willing to have honest conversations to resolve problems.
Read: That being said, everyone has had to work with challenging team members. Here are some tips for dealing with them.
They Have a Good Relationship with Their Manager
Sometimes you have to work with a finance leader that you don’t believe in. Part of being a team player, however, is to build relationships with everyone, including ineffective leadership. In an ideal world, a give-and-take of feedback could result in positive steps forward, even for a less than ideal manager.
They Set Boundaries
Strong team players set boundaries respectfully – and adhere to them. This doesn’t mean that they don’t go the extra mile. It means that they are respectful of those on their team and their time. Consequently, they expect a similar level of respect.
Being a team player doesn’t mean saying “yes” to everything. Instead, team players understand the alignment between their role and the team’s objectives and they’re willing to seek clarification if something doesn’t seem in the team’s best interests. They have good relationships with their manager and are willing to have honest conversations with their fellow team members if there is a disagreement. They set boundaries and treat people with respect. They encourage others and listen to understand, not just reply. They don’t gossip, knowing that it’s the poison that can erode a team’s cohesion. These qualities are why true team players are in such high demand.
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