Do You Put the 'I' in Team? Become an Asset in your Organization.

By: Dannielle Brantley

Anyone who's worked with a group or an organization has heard the old phrase, "There's no 'I' in team," as a motivation to work together and focus on the goals of the group. In its primary interpretation this is a good mantra to live by, but in this present day of entrepreneurship, new media businesses and self-ownership, a new perspective has developed concerning the 'individuals' role on a team. It is no longer the obscure employee, who is among ten people responsible for one particular department or project. Large corporations with management teams of 6 Vice-presidents, 7 Regional managers and 5 Directors are not the only entities on the career landscape. Small businesses continue to proliferate and their teams can consist of one or two people who manage everything and contract the rest. What is important to notice is that with the increase of small businesses, the individual is highlighted and often amongst the greatest asset to the company and its team. More responsibility falls on the shoulders of less people in small businesses and the end result is the 'I' becomes a very important part of the team. Individuals must work to develop themselves and pull their assigned weight or else there may be no team and no company. So do you make a good 'I?'

Characteristics of a good team can include adjectives such as organized, focused, achieves objectives, works for the organization, adapts well to change, and good ability to multitask. When you turn the spotlight on those individuals of a team that are considered great assets to that team, you get adjectives like dynamic, good with ideas, technical, consistent, personable, patient, and passionate. These individuals add wealth to the business and prove there is an 'I' in team. You'll notice the adjectives describing them are not easily duplicated but it doesn't mean you can't work towards developing these characteristics within yourself. Being a valued member of your team can be life or death for your small business or the small business you work with.

If you are currently part of a small team, are you the greatest asset you can be? Do you put the 'I' in team? With 18 years experience as a Software Project Manager, Naseem Mariam, lists '10 Traits of a Good Team Member.' Check it out and see if you're being all you can be for your team.

1. Excellent technical, professional competence

Business projects require professional skills. If it is a shorter project (3 months) you should have a lot of task oriented, good technical experts on board; however if the project team is large (more than 8), the duration greater than 6 months then having a few social oriented people on board would reduce the interpersonal- communications strain from the project team.

2. Good interpersonal skills

Effective interpersonal communication is vital to the smooth functioning of any task team. Communication skills -- listening, written and oral, telephone, email -- are a must. Conflict handling, negotiating skills are an added advantage. Trusts, supports, and has genuine concern for other team members. Helpful and cooperative with others.

3. Sharing, giving tendency

Shares his knowledge and expertise freely with team members. Shares openly, with honesty and integrity with others regarding personal feelings, opinions, thoughts, and perceptions about problems and conditions. Does not engage in one-upmanship. Gives of his time, energy and heart to own and solve the problems that arise during the course of the project.

4. Respects authority

Has an aura of authority around him. Gains the respect of every team member. Respects his boss, the Top Management of the organization and the customersí managers. Consoles and reasons with other team members and resolves complaints of other team members with patience, understanding and empathy. Understands and is committed to team objectives..

5. Cares for the customer

Polite, courteous to everyone including the customers. Has real concern and thinks of both short term and long term benefits from customerís viewpoint. Negotiates well with the customer and the companyís Top Management to ensure less stress and strain for the team.

6. Self-reliant, happy, positive person

Comfortable with himself. Respects himself and will not become a sycophant (insincere compliment giver, trying to get into bossí good books insincerely). Positively charged, full of enthusiasm and love for his work. Puts in an honest dayís work and is willing to cheerfully put in a few extra hours whenever the need arises.

7. Welcomes feedback

Encourages feedback on own behavior Takes the necessary corrective and preventive actions to ensure harmony, peace and joyful environment for project execution.

8. Finger on the pulse

He has a finger on the pulse of the teamsí feelings and concerns. Helps to fix the conflicts, negotiates between conflicting parties and negotiates a win/win ending. Is aware of what goes on around him, is able to sense danger and steer the team members onto happy solutions faster.

9. Delivering on commitments

Reliable, dependable person. Always keeps his promises and commitments. Informs customer and boss well in advance when things go wrong, Discusses the issues and concerns and sets new commitments.

10. Integrity, honesty and trust

Whatever good qualities a person may possess, they are of no use to him or to anyone else when he does not have integrity of character. Integrity is being true to oneself, honesty is being true to others. He should be trust worthy and trust others with his eyes open. He is able to evaluate phoneys and insincere people a mile away.

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Dannielle Brantley, is the founder of Mocha Works, Marketing - Web Design, Print Design and Marketing Consulting for Start-ups, Entrepreneurs & Small Businesses. Email at [email protected]

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