Are You a Team Player?

Working as a team, with all pitching-in together and, most of all, working in harmony are all essential components of a healthy workplace culture. There are very few businesses that can survive without using effective teams in their operation. When deadlines are tight, it is often team-work that gets the project completed on-time and, more importantly, wins the contract.

The Olympic relay races illustrated perfectly how working together as a team can achieve much more than one player going it alone. You know that if you pass your baton to a person capable of a sprint finish, then your team has a better chance of winning. That little bit extra – is the bit which makes the difference between winning and losing.

Good Team Players at Work

Most organisations have teams. The sales team, the production team, the HR team, the customer services team and, of course, the management team. These teams are created to bring strength and to channel energies and creativity into the aims and objectives of the organisation. Most roles in the workplace require us to interact with others – whereas the concept of ‘going it alone’ is really only relevant in very small
businesses where the driving force is just the owner-manager, or the sole professional practitioner.

Good team players will support other members by offering practical help when they need it.  They can offer positive feedback throughout a specific task and especially after a project is completed.  Even if the end result is not as good as it could be, the effective team player will look at the learning that has come from the experience, rather than
apportioning blame upon anyone.

Teams are essentially built upon expertise and individual strengths and in the most effective teams you will often find:

  • Leaders who challenge and motivate the team to give of their best
  • Individual skilled workers necessary for their technical expertise
  • Supervisors who push to get the job done
  • Monitors who review and assess quality
  • Co-ordinators who see that project runs to plan

When teams do not function well, it is usually because of poor communication skills within the team and a lack of clear understanding of individual roles.

Team work can often be challenging, and individuals with a strong character do not always find being a team player, easy. They will have a strong urge to do it their own way and their stubbornness and individuality can sabotage the success of the team effort.

So if you were choosing team members for a project in your organisation, who would the best team players be?

Naturally, we have to assume that they all have the basic technical skills for the work to be done, but what other factors would you need for your team?

So let us now look at some of the necessary qualities of a team player:

  • Reliable and can be counted on to work hard, meet commitments and follow through.
  • Communicates well to express their thoughts and ideas in a clear, concise manner but with respect for the rest of the team.
  • Listens attentively and can absorb information but not take it personally when their suggestion is not always accepted.
  • Good problem-solver who can think creatively and ‘outside of the box’ in a solutions-orientated manner
  • Fully engages with other team players and maybe even volunteers for other assignments.
  • Shares information, knowledge and expertise to keep other team members up to date.
  • Co-operates with others to get the job done and takes the initiative to help.
  • Flexible and adaptive to ever-changing situations and not stressed-out because a new direction may be taken.
  • Committed to his/her job and to the team as a whole and not merely in their own role
  • Respectful and considerate of the rest of the team.

Good team players can usually see beyond their own piece of work and are
able to appreciate the larger picture and vision that is behind the specific
project or objective.  They are pro-active and good motivators of both themselves and others.  They enjoy being a part of the success of their team and of the competitive advantage gained.

Are you one of them?

  • Organisations invariably use efficient teams
  • Teams are cohesive and work is stronger
  • Members support and motivate each other

Reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News

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Getting the Most Out of your Day

We all have just 24 hours in a day so why is it that some people seem to get more out of their quota than others?  Well, in the end, it is down to using techniques – and below are some of my favourites.

Take the first 30 minutes of your day so that you can plan your daily activity.
Don’t start your day until you have completed your time plan.  The most important time of your day could be the time you schedule to schedule the rest of your time!

Be organised and plan activities in advance so that there are no last minute surprises which take up precious minutes, or hours, and stress you out.

Go to bed early.  An extra hour‘s sleep gives you an additional 365 hours per year!  Now that can’t be bad!

Do your ‘to do’ list before you leave the office so you know exactly what you are doing the next morning.  Organise all your files before you leave so you have everything to hand.

Don’t answer your email as soon as you get into the office unless you have given yourself a specific time to do this, but when you do – then turn your email off!

Schedule extra minutes when you leave to go to an appointment.  Don’t always be the last one to arrive, with everyone looking at you.  Grow the reputation for being always on time and reliable. Continue reading

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Is Self-employment a holiday?

Many of you may dream about being self-employed, being independent, not being answerable to anyone, deciding your own working hours and taking as many holidays as you want. However, that may not be the reality of the self-employed person’s work/life balance!

The number of self employed workers in the UK has recently soared to a 20-year high of 4.1 million [which is 12% of the population] according to the Office for National Statistics.

However, when the self-employed person does eventually get away from work, the chances are they can’t switch-off because they are worried about their business, concerned in case they miss that big order they have been chasing for months and the loss of earnings associated with it. They may actually miss being in front of the computer screen!

So is being self-employed the rosy picture it is sometimes painted? Well, for many it is but those are individuals who are disciplined, organised and are resilient to the knocks when they inevitably take place.

An increasing number of the population are choosing to become self-employed for many reasons – they could be disillusioned working for someone else and never seeing the rewards themselves, or feeling insecure in their job and they don’t want to be called into the office to be told they have been made redundant!

However, self-employment is not right for everyone and, as with any decision that you make in life, you have to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages. Continue reading

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