If you can't seem to be part of the team in the workplace or struggle during a group interview when you're out on the job hunt, it may be time to reconsider how you interact within a group of people in a professional setting. In many workplaces, being able to collaborate successfully is extremely important, especially if you're working to accomplish common goals for the company. If collaborative situations fill you with tension, try readjusting how you work within a team. Here are four tips for becoming a better team player at work:
1. Know when to step back
For certain people, ambition in a professional setting may push them to always take the point role or try to separate themselves from their peers. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but in collaborative situations it can be harmful to creativity and innovation. These ideas have become highly valued in the contemporary workplace, and rely on workers to know when it's time to take the lead and when it's time to follow. The fact is, others will have good ideas and subject matter expertise in certain areas that you lack. It's necessary to be able to step back in those moments and listen to others earnestly.
2. Learn from your mistakes
If you or your team in general makes a mistake, learn from it next time you are in a similar scenario. Errors are an inevitable and necessary element of innovation, so it's better to embrace them than shrug them off.
3. Don't take information for granted
Communication is key in a collaborative workplace. If you assume that everyone has access to the same information, it may slow down your progress as a team. Make sure to share ideas and materials candidly if it is of value to the entire team. In general, making assumptions in the workplace can lead to unfavorable outcomes. Communicate openly about any concerns or issues you have with your team or a superior to ensure that they aren't exacerbated later.
4. Play to your strengths
While it's important to know when to follow, it's also crucial that you are vocal about your strengths. For example, if your work team has a big upcoming presentation and you have significant experience with PowerPoint or other presentation software, make sure that it is known amongst the group. Be proactive about taking on tasks at which you know you excel. It'll be beneficial for both you and your team.