The 7 Attributes of Every Great Team Player

And why Apprentice candidates Scott and Brett must mend their teamwork differences

The behind-the-scenes bust-up between The Apprentice candidate Scott Saunders and team mate Brett Butler-Smythe reminds us just how difficult it can be to get along with others with personalities that clash with our own. Neither will get very far if they cannot demonstrate skills as a team player. Any signs that you struggle to work as part of a team is a red flag for an employer – in fact Sir Alan Sugar stated his concern over Brett’s bullish and brutally honest style during the boardroom scene of the previous week.

But conflicts do happen and personalities do clash so how would you handle your relationship with a team member you found difficult or didn’t particularly like?

How would you answer such a question if asked during a job interview?

Why being a team player is essential

Even solitary jobs like designer, archivist or writer needs some ability to work as a team player because team work is essentially about understanding how your job relates to those of your colleagues. It is unlikely your job will exist in a bubble by itself. You need to see how your role fits as part of the ultimate aim of your team, department and, ideally, the company. This will give you a very good perspective on what it means to be a team player.

The 7 attributes of a great team player, and why you should develop them

The ability to work as part of a team reveals lots of things about a candidate, such as their ability to sacrifice their own interests or preferences for the greater good of the whole. Here are seven attributes every great team player has

    1.Resilience – they are able to keep going when things are hard or look like they’re going down-hill. Employers want to know you possess the grit and tenacity to keep going until you get the result you want. Great team players stand their ground and fight during difficult times.

   2. Conflict management – great team players have high emotional intelligence and can see a point from other people’s perspectives. They will have a good understanding of their own emotions and be able to communicate that too.

  3. Problem solving – a solution-minded attitude to work is always prized. These are not people who complain and find fault but who look for answers. An employer will value the fact that you don’t sit there expecting others to solve problems for you.

4. Compromise – when working as a team there will be times when you will need to compromise and meet a person half way. A great team player will give up at least some of his demands in order to accommodate the preferences and ideas of others in the team.

 5. Reciprocal – great team players understand that it’s not all about taking but about giving too. They are loyal and responsible. If you see that a project might fail because a fellow team member has dropped the ball somewhere you should be willing to step in and cover them.

 6. Business awareness – the ability to overlook personality clashes and differences will show an employer that you have a professional approach to your work. A great team player understands that this is paramount in any business environment

 7. Motivation – perhaps one of the most useful skills a great team player has is the potential to lift the morale of others. It can make a big difference to the outcome.

In closing let us return to our earlier question about clashes in personalities, after all, they do happen. How have you managed a difficult relationship at work in the past?

A great team player might reply by saying they focused on the job at hand over any personal differences because this was their main priority. And who can argue with that?

How to Sell Your Strengths as a Relationship Builder in a Job Interview

Exploring the strengths-based approach for Graduates – Part 4 of 4

In an interview situation, you need to be able to make yourself stand out from the crowd. You need to be memorable. You can do this in many ways: by being presentable, enthusiastic, attentive… but you can also do this by being self-aware.

In other words, you need to be able to recognise what your personal strengths are AND how a strength you have that is similar to someone else, is different in you. And if you not only know your strengths but also how they’ll suit the job you’re applying for, then you need to be able to explain this to your interviewer – with conviction.

What qualities or strengths do you have that would be perfect for the job you seek? Spend some time considering this.

In this series of four blogs, we’ve been looking at 34 key strengths, which can be divided into four categories or domains. We’ve looked at the domains of EXECUTOR, STRATEGIC THINKER and INFLUENCER. Now we’ll be looking at RELATIONSHIP BUILDERS.

The strengths-based approach breaks down your strength in each of the four domains to describe exactly what type of EXECUTOR, STRATEGIC THINKER, INFLUENCER or RELATIONSHIP BUILDER you are, and that’s what makes it so great for helping you to define your difference during an interview.

So, what type of Relationship Builder are you?

A RELATIONSHIP BUILDER is kind and caring. Friendships mean everything to them. They’re good at keeping in touch with their friends and often have the same friends throughout their lives. They like to spend their spare time with the people they know best. They’re loyal and they never forget a birthday or an anniversary!

1. Adaptability – People who are adaptable can take whatever life throws at them. They always seem to remain positive and they don’t mind adapting to the needs or schedules of others.

2. Connectedness – If this strength is one of yours, you’ll believe that all people are interconnected at some level, everything happens for a reason, and there are very few coincidences in life. Having the ability to connect with others means that you can form relationships easily and you can also see ways to help others.

3. Developer – If you fall into the developer category, you can recognise the potential in others. You can spot talent and develop it. You’re a natural motivator and encourager.

4. Empathy – If you’re truly empathetic, you can sense the feelings of other people. You can put yourself in their shoes and understand what they’re going through. This ability means that you find it easy to form deep and trusting relationships.

5. Harmony – If you’re strongly influenced by harmony, you like people to get along! You hate arguments and uneasy atmospheres. If there’s any kind of issue or problem, you’re the one who’s determined to find a solution.

6. Individualisation – If this is your strength, you’re gifted in being able to see the uniqueness of the people you meet. You can appreciate character and individuality; you value people for who they are. You can also visualise how people from varying backgrounds can come together to work as a team, each offering their own strengths and talents.

7. Includer – Those who fall into this category hold the belief that people should try to come together as a team to solve problems and reach targets. They don’t like to leave anyone out and they believe that everyone has something to offer. Of course, this approach only works well if you’re a collaborator too!

8. Positivity – Positive people seem to have boundless energy. They’re optimistic and upbeat. They can see the good in most situations and they celebrate each achievement, knowing that even small achievements can lead to larger accomplishments.

9. Relator – If you’re a relator, there’s nothing you love more than spending time with friends and family. You always make time to see them and you keep up with all their news.

Whatever type of RELATIONSHIP BUILDER, INFLUENCER, STRATEGIC THINKER or EXECUTOR you are, remember to put this across in your job interview. Tell your potential employer, with conviction, how your unique strengths have helped you in various situations and how they’d help you in this particular job.

Taking a STRENGTHS-BASED APPROACH leads to contentment in both life and work. When you know what your strengths are and can use them, you’ll be at your most productive and happy because you’ll be working from a place where you feel strongest. You’ll be at your most creative, productive, efficient and resilient. If you work to your strengths, you’ll be able to reach your goals!

How to Sell Your Influencing Skills in a Job Interview

Exploring the strengths-based approach for Graduates – Part 3 of 4

During the last two blogs we’ve been looking at the strengths or personality traits that help you to perform at your best in your life and work. Firstly, we looked at the different ways you might be a strong EXECUTOR. Then we examined the different traits of a STRATEGIC THINKER. This time we’ll be discussing the different ways a graduate might fit into INFLUENCER category.

You may well ask: why do I need to know what my strengths are? Well, when we’re working to our strengths, we feel like we’re at our most content and efficient. We feel “in tune” – as if we’re doing what we’re meant to be doing. Working to our strengths makes for an enjoyable career!

Being specifically different about your similarities is key!

Of course, in a job-interview situation, being able to describe your strengths is paramount. But with the strengths-based approach you can go even deeper – you can differentiate yourself from someone who may have the same or similar set of strengths you do. That could mean the job is yours.

After considering the information in this series of four blogs, when asked at interview “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” you’ll be able to decide which type of a specific strength you best fit into and offer some real-life examples of your abilities.

Better still, if you know the aptitudes that the job itself requires, you’ll be able to be more specific. Let’s imagine the job entails collaboration with others; you’ll be able to prepare some examples of when you had to collaborate with your friends or colleagues and describe what you did in detail. Perhaps you had to carry out some in-depth research as part of a team and this enabled you to develop your collaboration skills? Make sure you have some real-life examples to give to your interviewer; then he/she will get the message that you’re perfect for the role!

Selling your influencing skills at your job interview

So, this time, let’s look at INFLUENCERS. How is your ability to influence different?

An INFLUENCER is someone who’s good at breaking the ice and building rapport with others. They’re friendly and can put people at their ease. They love meeting people, making genuine connections with others, keeping in touch and networking.

1. Activator – An activator’s strongest characteristic is being able to turn thoughts into actions. They’re raring to go and can’t wait to make a difference! They’re decision-makers, but they follow up their decisions with action.

2. Command – People who fall into this category are natural leaders. They’re assertive and like to be in control. When there are problems to be solved, they’re confident and can even be courageous.

3. Communication – People who are good communicators tend to be excellent presenters and are skilled at making conversation. They’re eloquent and able to express themselves clearly.

4. Competition – Those who are competitive constantly measure their achievements against the achievements of others. Competition motivates and drives them. They want to be the best and they want to win!

5. Self-Assurance – People who fall into the self-assurance category are confident in their actions and in their speech. They’re not afraid of hard work and they tend to be independent-minded – able to manage their work and their personal lives, aiming always for success.

6. Maximizer – A maximizer is someone who studies best practice because they’re striving for excellence. Maximizers are naturally creative and they look for ways to make a good performance into an outstanding performance. Only the best will do!

7. Significance – Those people who are driven by this theme enjoy having a positive effect on others. They’re the ones you never forget. They manage to make a significant difference in the lives of others.

8. Woo – People who ooze ‘woo’ are the ice-breakers and conversationalists who are able to build rapport easily and make lasting connections with others. They bring energy into social gatherings and they thrive on winning people over.

So far we’ve looked at EXECUTOR, STRATEGIC THINKER and INFLUENCER. Most of us have strengths from all four domains. Some may have more in one or two domains than another. Putting them together helps you to complete the picture of how your strengths work with each other and, importantly, how they help you compensate for your weaknesses.

Next time, we’ll be looking at the final domain, which has its own characteristic strengths of the RELATIONSHIP BUILDER. This will help you get a much more complete picture of your strengths as a graduate.

How to Sell Your Strategic Thinking Skills in a Job Interview

Exploring the strengths-based approach for Graduates – Part 2 of 4

We began looking at this subject last time and we learnt that adopting a STRENGTHS-BASED APPROACH in your life and work can help you to perform at your optimum.

To perform at your best, all you need to be able to do is recognise, accept and utilise your own strengths.

So how do we define a strength?

A strength is the ability to be consistent and to achieve near-perfect performance in a specific activity. It’s a combination of:

  • Talent: recurring patterns of thoughts, feelings or behaviours that help you to be productive
  • Skill: the capacity to perform the fundamental steps of an activity with ease
  • Knowledge: all that you’ve acquired through your experience

So Talent + Skill + Knowledge = Strength

As mentioned last time, there are 34 main strengths and they can be categorised into four domains: EXECUTOR, STRATEGIC THINKER, INFLUENCER and RELATIONSHIP BUILDER. We looked at EXECUTOR last time. Now let’s look at the main strengths of a STRATEGIC THINKER.

What’s so unique about your strategic thinking skills?

A STRATEGIC THINKER is someone who always thinks ahead and plans. They’re able to anticipate what will happen next, or what others will do, and they can prepare themselves for this. They foresee the opportunities and take them. They’re always prepared for the “what ifs” and they’re ready to respond.

Here are the different types of “Strategic Thinker” strengths:

1. Analytical – People who fall into the analytical category are logical, rigorous in their approach and meticulous, always paying attention to the detail. When it comes to analysing data, they consider all the relevant factors, no matter how small, before reaching a conclusion.

2. Context – People who fall into this category tend to mull over past data, actions and experiences in order to reach careful decisions. They consider what they’ve learnt from the past. This sense of context gives them the perspective and confidence they need to be effective in their life and work.

3. Futuristic – A futuristic person is one who inspires others with their sense of vision. They’re creative and insightful – able to imagine the future and what it might hold.

4. Ideation – People who are described best by the term ideation love thinking “out of the box”. They can apply a new perspective to an old concept. They’re fascinated by ideas.

5. Intellection – This theme describes those who enjoy taking time out to think. Thinking energises them and drives their enthusiasm. They relish intellectual discussions and debates and enjoy developing their ideas.

6. Input – People who fall into this category are able to store away all kinds of information. They crave knowledge and enjoy learning just for the sake of it. Their wide range of interests helps them to connect with almost everyone they meet.

7. Learner – A learner is a person who likes to better themselves through knowledge. They constantly want to learn new facts and consider new arguments. They love reading, researching and browsing the internet.

8. Strategic – A person who’s strategic is always prepared. They’re ready to act and respond, and they always have an answer! They’re quick-witted and can easily spot possibilities and solutions.

Do you recognise these strengths in yourself, and if so, which ones? In what way are you a STRATEGIC THINKER?

Being able to answer this will place you at an advantage over competitors when placed in an interview situation.

Make this difference known.

Describe your abilities and strengths using real-life examples. Perhaps your sense of vision led you to set up a new club at university. Or maybe your love of learning led you to carry out further research into your specialist area.

These strengths will make you attractive to potential employers, so put your “context” skills into practice at your interview, to make sure your interviewer can see you in context!

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