Set aside ego for better team work

We talk of the importance of teamwork at work all the time; and whether or not, all of us believe that we are a good team player. However, if you come to think of it, very often ego clashes and other differences lead to a lot of bitterness among team members. Considering that each person has his or her own individuality and perspective towards a situation, differences among team members are inevitable. In fact such differences can actually turn out to be a boon to work productively after all knowingly or unknowingly they give several standpoints, which can be explored further to improve processes. Nevertheless, what is needed is to watch out for such differences are deal with them in a healthy manner and that’s exactly what makes a good team player. That forms only one aspect of being a good player. Here’s a list of other traits one can consider:

Say ‘No’ to Ego:

Parking ones ego somewhere deep within is the first step towards creating space for self in the team. It is one of the most difficult things to do, but if one can mange to do that effectively, 90 percent of the battle is won and the remaining 10 percent falls in place automatically. But remember, we are talking about ego and not self respect. There is huge difference between the two that most of us fail to understand. Ego often leads to unnecessary quarrels, which only turn sour with time. Needless to say, ego has always played spoilsport when it comes to maintaining relationships whether it’s professional or personal. It’s important to understand that we all have vices and there is nothing wrong in accepting it. When you make a mistake, accept it is as simple as that. Don’t try to argue or justify just because your ego wouldn’t let you give in.

Ego clashes are a very common phenomenon. Every firm has employees struggling to handle this unnecessary distress. But remember nobody would want to be around a self-centered proud moron. Peers in general don’t like to be around egoistic people. Avoid confronting them as much as possible because it’s only going to spoil the day and yield nothing beneficial, if confronted. It becomes really difficult for the others because egoistic people prefer to run their own show, with little or at times no co-operation with other team members.

That brings us to the next characteristics of a good team player being co-operative and helpful.

A friend in Need:

Now that’s self-explanatory. Effective teamwork is all about co-operation and understanding among the team members. Being empathetic and helpful never goes unnoticed. One must be ready to help colleagues when they are genuinely in need of it – it means one has to compromise on his/her free time or put in additional efforts. Mutual understanding and friendship makes working hours more fun, thus reducing boredom and breaking the monotony. Try to bond with colleagues beyond professional requirements. After all, one is more comfortable when he or she is in the company of “friends”.

The success formula in a team is honesty and one should never assume things. Express concerns or opinions, if any, before commencing on a plan of action. Co-ordination is important, else for all one knows might end up in chaos. When it is observed something is not working out the way it should, face it upfront. However, ensure that it is done politely or else one might end up creating undesirable scenes at work.

Even if you think that you and your colleagues are two poles of the same magnet try and build a rapport; avoid resentments as much as possible and behave like responsible professionals.

Flow with the tide:

There might be many occasions when you wish to differ, at times, it’s better to kill urge and flow with the tide. It may not be a cakewalk all the time. It is sometime difficult to give in, but if needs be one must do it, because everybody is working towards achieving the same goal. People will ask you to ‘be passionate about your work’ et al, but understand it is everyone’s work and not just ‘yours’. It’s absolutely fine to make suggestions, but you can’t insist when the team thinks otherwise. Even if an individual is not completely convinced with an idea, being a part of the team and working towards contributing and improvising on the idea will make him ‘belong’.


Here, we are not talking about the deadlines one has committed to client or boss regarding a task assigned but we are trying to reinforce here is the informal commitment one might have with co-workers. For example, if an employee takes up the onus of helping his colleague with his/her work he must ensure that he does it. If the employee backs out at the last moment, his/her co-worker will be answerable. This ought to trigger distaste among the two and raise questions on the employee’s credibility. If one finds it difficult to fit the task in his/her schedule, communicate the predicament constructively to the colleague before it is too late.

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