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Becoming a Valuable Team Player in the Office

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Unless you have been living under a rock in the last few weeks, you know that sports have been all the rage. The Chicago Blackhawks clenched the Stanley Cup, NBA finals are heating up the courts, the World Cup is in full swing, and baseball fans across the country are rooting for their home teams. All of this talk of sports has made the JobBound team think about what makes a good team in the workplace. The answer is synonymous with what makes great sports teams: team players. Here are some tips for becoming a valuable team player in the office.

Conditioning is key
Athletes don't go a day without taking care of themselves and their bodies. They eat right, get enough sleep and do the exercises they need to do to perform their best - even in the off season. Employees should do the same. Eat breakfast and get enough sleep at night to ensure that you are on your A-game in the office. (No one likes to work with a sleepy or hungry grouch!) If you find yourself needing to sharpen your skill set to be better in the office, take a class or attend a workshop to hone and develop your skills accordingly. Remember, you can always be in better shape.

Operate on Lombardi time
The great Hall of Fame football coach of the Green Bay Packers, Vince Lombardi, invented a strategy that he recommended to his coaches and players called "Lombardi Time." While intended for athletes, employees can benefit from this strategy as well. Operating on Lombardi Time meant showing up to every practice 15 minutes early - or you were considered late! Employees can exude punctuality and a true sense of character if they operate on Lombardi Time. This gives you time to catch your breath, collect your thoughts and review key points before meetings. Most of all, it ensures the meeting will start on time so that you can stick to your schedule for the rest of the day.

Earn your playing time
Each year, athletes in all sports dream of getting the chance to play professionally. Many are drafted from their college teams where they were the MVP and go on to ride the bench in the big leagues. Similarly, many entry level folk come out of college as a seasoned hot shot and enter the workforce as a rookie. It is important for you to understand that there will always be people in the company who have been around longer than you, and therefore, they will have more responsibilities and take the lead on key projects. Though you may be itching to take the lead, know your role in meetings and learn how to follow. Even if you are a professional with years of experience, you can always learn from the veterans you work with. Most importantly - be grateful for your spot on the team.

Get to know your team
Not every great sports duo is BFF. But, they do understand each other and know how to work together. The same is true for employee relationships. It would be an absurd expectation for employees to be buddy-buddy, but it is not unreasonable for co-workers to be expected to get to know each other. No need to divulge details of personal lives - but get to know their strengths and weaknesses. How do they like to be communicated with? What do they value? What time of day do they get their best work done? What can they help you with? How can you help them? Knowing how to best work together will ensure team continuity and respect.

Eliminate excuses
Athletes always show up for game day - no matter what. You don't hear "Kane won't be coming in for the Stanley Cup championship game today, he got stuck in traffic." Yet, how often do we hear "Lackey is missing the 2 PM annual sales presentation on Monday, she's taking a three day weekend." A team cannot shine without its key players. Whether you are the receptionist or the CEO - you make a difference and complete the team. Get out of the habit of calling in "sick", skipping meetings, or making excuses for assignments being late or sub par.

Keep a great attitude
Athletes always play to win - and employees should do the same. Rare is the day when an athlete shows up for a game and goes through the motions. Champions play every game with intensity, determination and passion. As an employee, if you do your work with these same qualities, your co-workers will catch on and the entire team will perform better.

 

 

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