How to Be a Team Player in a Leadership Role

As a small business owner, you naturally want to lead your business towards success. The way you choose to lead your team has a huge impact on your company. Fostering effective teamwork in an organization is an important step in building a strong workforce. You need to know how to be a team player at work.

Lessons learned in my corporate job

Before I was a business owner, I worked as a systems programmer for a large company in the 1980’s. I was a hard charger, and in the process of getting the job done, I often ran over my peers. I had no patience for people who learned or worked slower than I did.

Instead of building my teammates up and encouraging them, I showed intolerance in my day-to-day actions because I felt that my time was too valuable. I was the superstar—so I thought.

Though I didn’t realize it at the time, my attitude was a problem. I was great at small, one-person projects. But, projects involving others were an issue because I either steamrolled my co-workers or didn’t help. Worst of all, the company suffered because I couldn’t work with a team.

Twenty-twenty hindsight is an amazing thing.

After over 30 years as an entrepreneur, I’ve had time to reflect. And, I cannot stress enough how important teamwork is in the workplace.

Whether you’re an employee or employer, you need to know how to be a good team player. Effective teamwork is crucial for success, especially as a small business owner.

How to be a team player: tips for business leaders

As a business owner, you might want to be seen as the “top dog.” But, you need to know how to be an effective team player to have an effective workforce. Try the following tips to encourage teamwork in the workplace.

#1. Set up systems

No matter what kind of business you own, there are a lot of parts and pieces that keep it operating. When all the gears don’t line up, you run into problems. Getting your employees on the same page will help each workday go smoothly.

Create systems for every leg of your operations. Consistent methods make tasks easier for current workers. And, they help when you’re onboarding new employees. Meet with your team to discuss the processes.

Streamlined business methods will help you be team-focused and grow as a leader. You can encourage a cohesive work environment while keeping up with business demands. Check in with employees regularly about their workflow and answer their questions.

#2. Don’t reward know-it-alls

You’re not doing anyone (including yourself) a favor by reinforcing behavior that stifles teamwork. Individuals who hoard information hold your business back. You need to discourage employees from refusing to help co-workers.

Sometimes, an employee believes that being the only person on payroll who knows how to do certain tasks makes them more valuable. But, the opposite is true. A self-centered employee can actually slow down operations when they are both present and absent.

Don’t reward employees who are unwilling to work with the rest of your staff. To create teamwork in the workplace, make information accessible, encourage cross training, and support continued learning at your company.

#3. Keep it professional

This tip for how to be a team player seems like a no-brainer. But, it’s an important reminder to steer clear of gossip in the workplace. Establish yourself as a leader who respects employees.

Set up a policy for handling conflicts within your team. That way, you can all discuss issues privately and professionally. You can’t expect to eliminate all gossip from your business. But, you should take measures to prevent negative chatter.

How to be a team player

#4. Be an active member of your workforce

No one wants to be bossed around by someone standing on the sideline. Get involved with daily operations and connect with your team. Employees respect leaders who roll up their sleeves and work alongside them.

Show employees that working as a team means everyone from the bottom up pulls together to get the job done. Sure, you need to make running the company your first priority. But when you get the chance, lend a hand to daily tasks.

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