The 7 Attributes of Every Great Team Player

Nov 25, 2015

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?

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