October 31, 2017

Your Tuesday Top 5: How to Be an Effective Team Member

Posted by AGU Career Center

Every Tuesday, Patricia Yaya, AGU Vice President of Human Resources & Administrative Services, sends a message to the entire AGU staff featuring five short tips for getting by in the workplace.  On the Job will be publishing these tips in a new weekly segment, Tuesday Top 5.

Whether you are on a project team, senior staff team, or a sports team, here are some general guidelines to ensure successful outcomes for your collective workgroup.

Here are your Tuesday Top 5 tips for how to be an effective team member:

1. Clear objectives.

Each team member must have a clear understanding of the objectives, and those objectives must be meaningful to each member. Be sure to celebrate the small wins that lead to larger victories and goal completion. To be successful, there must be a unity of purpose.

2. Mutual respect. 

Each team member should demonstrate appreciation, offer support, lead by example, and demonstrate workplace values even at his/her weakest moments. Understand that you are not alone on any team and that your behavior (good and bad) is constantly on display. To be successful, team members must give and be given the benefit of the doubt, trusting other members to bring concerns to individuals, neither gossiping nor undermining their expertise.

3. Support and trust.

Each team member must support other members and allow his/herself to be supported. This requires trust (and respect). To be successful, teams must be collaborative and supportive. Working in isolation is ineffective.

4. Understand roles.

Each team member must understand the role of each member. Each has an expertise and brings additional resources to the table. It is important that there is a good balance of skills and expertise. To be successful, team members must support diversity, rely on each other, appreciate the role (i.e., the talent) that others bring. To be successful, team members must be certain to understand their role, providing feedback when requested/needed by using the TPS rule: Truthful, Positive, and Specific.

5. Good communication.

Each team member must be free to express feelings as well as ideas. Team members listen, and each idea is heard. To be successful, there must be an open, tension-free, and safe working environment where ideas and concerns are communicated respectfully.

Patricia Yaya is the Vice President of Human Resources and Administrative Services at the American Geophysical Union.  Additional AGU Staff contributed to this blog.