What Does “Being a Team Player” Really Mean?

To some, it could be as simple as showing up for work when scheduled, on-time, and with little to no mistakes.

For others, it means taking extra shifts, always being that extra pair of hands, and staying late.

How do our expectations as employers differ from our staff when it comes to this? Are we expecting too much? After all, we are paying them to show up every day, on-time, and do a good job for us.

Should we expect more? If we do expect more, are we being fair? Is that expectation causing overall stress to the team, and will that added stress end up hurting the morale and decrease productivity?

I believe there is a balance to find when evaluating who a team player is. If everyone is present and completing their tasks in an efficient manner without extra supervision and mistakes, then we have a solid team. A “working machine”, if you will. For most companies, this is the ideal model. It is when we begin to get greedy with our staff and start adding duties without adding compensation or additional team members, that we see a disruption in that working machine we had earlier.

We tell our people to suck it up and “be a team player”, when really that’s what they were doing in the first place.

We are so used to fixing things that we don’t stop to take a good look when things are running smoothly.

My challenge to you is to:

  • Thank your team members now rather than apologizing to them when you have to ask them to cover for staff you have lost
  • Re-evaluate your criteria for what a “team player” means to you and your organization
  • Give out verbal accolades to the team and individuals. Be fair, consistent, and inclusive to all
  • Re-train any outliers, so they learn what your new criteria is for the team to succeed

Enjoy it when you have that moment to breathe and not worry. It does happen, you just have to see it.