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Companies depend on teams because the professional world revolves around the complex challenges of making money, and these complexities require teams of people to provide ongoing solutions.
It’s true that individual initiative is important, but as a professional, much of the really important work you do will be done as a member of a group. Your long-term success requires that you learn the arts of cooperation, team-based decision making, and team communication. A good team player must work efficiently and respectfully with other people who have totally different responsibilities, backgrounds, objectives, and areas of expertise.
Teamwork demands that a commitment to company goals and their success must always come first. This means you take on a task because it needs to be done, not because it makes you look good.
As a team player you:
- Always cooperate.
- Always make decisions based on team goals.
- Always work for the common good.
- Always keep colleagues informed.
- Always keep commitments.
- Always share credit, never blame.
- Always execute your responsibilities with due respect for the people who must in turn work with the results of your deliverables.
To become a successful leader in professional life, it’s a given that you must first be a reliable team player, because a leader must understand the dynamics of teamwork before she can lead a team.
Leadership is the most complex of all the transferable skills
Notice how you are willing to follow true leaders but don’t fall in line with people who don’t respect you and who don’t have your best interests at heart. As a leader, when others believe in your competence, and believe you have everyone’s success as your goal, they will follow you.
Leadership is a critical skill for long-term survival as a manager, and just as critical if you want to break into the ranks of management:
- Your job as a leader is to help your team succeed, and your teamwork skills give you the knowledge to understand what will pull a team together.
- Your technical expertise, critical thinking, and creativity skills help you correctly define the challenges your team faces and give you the wisdom to guide them toward solutions.
- There’s nothing more demoralizing than a leader who can’t clearly articulate why you’re doing what you’re doing, so your communication skills encourage team members to buy into your directives and goals.
- Your creativity comes from the wide frame of reference you have for your job and the profession and industry in which you work, enabling you to come up with solutions that others might not have seen.
- Your multitasking skills, based on sound time management and organizational abilities, enable you to create a time-sensitive blueprint for success and your team to take ownership of the task and deliver the expected results on time.
When your actions inspire others to think more, learn more, do more, and become more, it’s a sure sign you are becoming a leader. This will ultimately be recognized and rewarded with promotion into and up the ranks of management. Leadership is a combination and outgrowth of such transferable skills as these (transferable because they support success at every level and in every profession).
Your understanding of teamwork from the inside out will give you what it takes to become an inspirational leader. Leaders aren’t born; they are self-made professionals who invest themselves in the skills that fuel success.