Who is a Team Player?

Who is a Team Player?

You might have come across this term in various places; when being used to describe an athlete, in a school setting, describe a top-ranking student, job postings describing the qualities of the desired candidate, and so forth. However, we will focus solely on who is a team player in the workplace for the article.

According to Indeed, a team player actively contributes to their group to complete tasks, meet goals or manage projects. Team players actively listen to their coworkers, respect their ideas, and aim to improve the product or process at hand. Therefore, a great team player has to be an individual willing and able to work in harmony with others and collaborate to achieve the team’s goals successfully. Team players understand that when their team is successful, it also attributes to their success, and when the team fails or faces difficulties, they mutually share the responsibility. To get a better understanding, we will go through words used to describe a team player, why employers require their staff members to be team players, and why it is important to be a team player at your job.

Words Used to Describe a Team Player

  • Collaborative – Since it was mentioned earlier that a team player has to be willing to work with others, they must be collaborative. They should remember that the cooperation of their team will yield high results. It is said that two heads are better than one. This is especially true when it comes to solving problems in the workplace. As much as you might be incredible at your job, being willing to listen to others’ ideas and perspectives will prove you are an open-minded individual and allow you to learn from your workmates and better understand your work.

  • Competent – As with any job, to be successful and keep it, you have to be competent. This is especially true of a team player. A team player understands the tasks at hand and what is required to complete them. When both you and your team members know what to do and are confident, it eliminates the anxiety that your work might turn out subpar. Since each individual’s performance affects the overall functioning of the team, competency proves to be quite an important aspect of being a team player.

  • Creative – Unexpected hurdles that require immediate action can arise any day in the workplace. Being able to think quickly on one’s feet to come up with solutions might turn out to be paramount. A team player should be willing to think divergently and use their imagination to develop ideas that will help the team in problem-solving. Creativity is useful when dealing with issues and when generally coming up with ideas to finish tasks and projects. Using a not-the-norm approach sets you apart from the competition since you will be working in a not anticipated way.

  • Enthusiastic – Nobody likes a downer! Working and dealing with personal responsibilities is hard enough, so an eager and interesting member of your team might be just the motivation you need to look forward to going to work. Be that person. Help boost your teammates’ morale by having a positive attitude and outlook on the day-to-day. Not only will you be lifting the spirits of your team members high, but also yours. It has been proven that being positive no matter the situation helps one to reason better and, in turn, make better decisions. Being enthusiastic when it comes to your job also piques your interest in it, and you get to learn more and more and be more competent. So, during those cloudy days, always try to look for the silver lining.

  • Helpful – Whenever you can, always be willing to lend a helping hand to your teammates. If you see a coworker struggling with something you are confident you are good at, offer your help. Remember, the overall success of your team attributes to your success as well. So not only should you offer help, but you should be willing to ask for and accept help as well. Not even the sharpest minds understand all. From the point of view of the Greek philosopher Socrates, any facts or information he did have was likely to be inconsequential or even untrue compared to how much was left to be unearthed.

  • Reliable – It is always assuring that you can count on someone who will always keep their word. A team player should always follow through when they offer or are tasked to do something. Never take on too much work or tasks that you cannot handle, not to disappoint others. Being reliable also builds trust between you and your team members, for they believe, based on experience, that you can always be counted on to deliver.

  • Responsible – A team player knows and understands their specific roles and duties. They keep their promises and honor their commitments. They know their other teammates’ roles as well and know who to go to for what. A team player always follows through, keeps deadlines, and accepts the consequences of their actions. They do not make excuses or blame others when things go wrong but, instead, hold themselves accountable by recognizing their part in what transpired. They work on learning from their mistakes and on bettering themselves not to have the mishap occur again. 

  • Respectful – Boundaries are important, whether in one’s personal life or the workplace. A team player takes the time to know their team members and accepts that each of their coworkers has individual characteristics and each is different. They strive to treat others how they would want others to treat them, with respect. They recognize and follow hierarchy and know how to conduct themselves before their seniors and their coworkers. They also remember that each coworker is attempting to fulfill their roles and considers how they can help them.

  • A Good Communicator – Communication is key when working in a team. Learning how to properly and effectively air one’s views, concerns, opinions, criticism, and more in the workplace is a key characteristic of a team player.  You must be able to convey messages proficiently and politely via phone, email, and in person. To be successful, you should also constantly be keeping your teammates informed on your advancement when it comes to collective projects and/or tasks. This will help not to have similar tasks on multiple teammates or tasks not being done accurately. Being a good communicator also helps ensure harmony and understanding among teammates and helps minimize or possibly even eliminate conflict. 

  • A Good Listener – Being a good communicator is at par with being a good listener. Always be willing to hear others’ opinions, views, and criticism in the workplace. Moreover, never take criticism personally, but instead recognize that it is a chance to better your skills. No one is perfect anyways. Recognize when you have to listen and when you can respond; never cut someone off when they are speaking to you. Show interest and use gestural cues to show your team members that you care and understand their ideas or apprehensions.  Listen keenly and attentively and always ask questions whenever a coworker mentions something you do not understand.

Why do Employers Require the Members of Their Staff to be Team Players?

Job seekers who are great team players and possess strong teamwork skills are considered in any work environment, irrespective of the industry or role. Whether applying to be an entry-level or experienced worker, you need to work well with others and convey your teamwork skills to hiring managers, recruiters, and prospective employers. Even if individuals could do most tasks in a particular organization, some require multiple coworkers’ collective efforts to be achieved properly and/or effectively. Therefore, a team player who the terms can describe we have listed above can certainly contribute to the growth and betterment of an organization or company.

An employer can also trust their organization or company to run effectively without micromanaging if the members of their staff are team players. They can be assured that their team will help each other in running the day-to-day at work even without them around. They can rest easy knowing their staff is competent and collaborative.

Why it is Important for you to be a Team Player at Your Job

Regardless of whether it is in the job description or not, you should personally always be willing and ready to be a team player at work. It will better your work relationships, environment, and culture, but it also helps you become a better person overall. Learning to work well with others and collaboratively will translate to other aspects of your life, be it a home, school, or wherever else. Think about it. You might have siblings at home. Being a team player at work will help you learn to live with them in harmony, respect each other’s boundaries, communicate effectively and always be willing to lend and receive a helping hand.

If you present yourself as a team player at work, your efforts will definitely not go unnoticed. Your employer will consider you a star employee and maybe even bump your rank since they know you are competent and responsible. Being a team player also directly translates to being a good team leader! You might find yourself being given more leadership roles since if you can work well with others, you can obviously lead others to success. If you are a good team player who is promoted to be a team leader, your teammates are very likely to respect you and your authority since they will consider just how well you worked with them when you were on the same hierarchy level. 


As much as you would like to work with respectful, competent, and enthusiastic coworkers, you should be one yourself. Be open to working with others to be successful as a team and individually. Be open-minded, listen thoughtfully and attentively to your coworkers, and always be willing to lend a helping hand. Be willing to accept help too! Be a team player, and you will not only notice the betterment of your work life but your life in general.

If you are not certain about what parts you need to improve to be a better team player, ask a reliable friend or coworker for honest feedback about your teamwork skills. You might also consider asking someone you look up to in your trade to be your advisor. Getting a hold of someone who has strong teamwork skills can help you better your own and, in turn, be a great team player. Always remember that the ability to achieve goals in the workplace requires collaboration. Whether you are currently part of a team or are getting ready to join a new one, developing strong teamwork skills can help you succeed in your career no matter your level or industry.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How can I be a great team player?

You can be a great team player by being willing to work with others. You should be respectful, helpful, listen actively & attentively and communicate effectively with your teammates. Be enthusiastic and eager about your work. Be a reliable person who your teammates can always count on. It would be best if you always were willing to learn from your team members as well, for an individual can’t know all, no matter how competent they may be. You should also celebrate your team’s success, for if you are winning as a team, you are also winning individually.

  1. What do I do if I let my team down?

Take responsibility! Never blame anyone for your mistakes, and always try to remember that no one is ever without fault. Be willing to explain yourself and be honest with your team to fix the problem sooner rather than later. As much as your team’s successes are also your own, your mistakes and failures also generally affect the team’s overall performance. Also, when given criticism, never take it as personal harm. Instead, please take it as an opportunity to learn from others and to better your skills. Finally, always try to maintain your composure and never let your emotions take control when receiving negative feedback from your coworkers.

  1. What do I do when a teammate makes a mistake?

As much as you would not want your mistakes to affect how your coworkers view you, you should remember the same when presenting a teammate with constructive criticism. Assure them that it is not an harm and that you are only trying to fix an issue, not to affect the rest of the team. Be careful not to have your remarks be perceived as judgmental—comment specifically on the mistakes, not on their abilities in general. For example, you could mention to a coworker: “I looked over the report you worked on that we are to submit today, and I came across a few mistakes that we should look at” as opposed to “You made a terrible report full of mistakes, you should not be working on our reports anymore.”

  1. How can I make sure I am always being a team player?

Practice makes perfect. Practice your communication skills, work on your listening skills, learn how to be patient with others, and so forth. You could always ask for reviews from your teammates and ask them what they think of you as a teammate and areas they think you should work on. Remember never to take constructive criticism personally and instead consider them guidelines on how you can work on becoming a better employee, teammate, and individual. Remember always to be respectful and treat others as you would want them to treat you. You can also always refer to this article any time you need a reminder on who a team player is.

  1. Can I teach my teammates to become team players?

Of course, you can! Always lend a helping hand whenever possible. You could always give your team members pointers and tips on how they can be better team players to ensure the success and harmony of your team. Mention to them all you have learned and found helpful so far. However, you should be careful not to make it seem like you know more than your teammates. Humbly present this information and assure them that you are sharing knowledge you thought could increase the efficiency of your teamwork. I am sure you would not like to work with a condescending person either.

Who is a Team Player?

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