All together now
There are few situations at work where you operate in isolation. Your actions affect others just as much as their behaviour has an effect on you. This fragile interdependence relies on compromise and sensitivity from all. Ideally, there is a mutual acceptance that the goals of the group are more important than the desires or ego of any individual. If enough people believe that, it creates an excellent environment. Working together towards a common aim is as powerful as it is satisfying.
Being regarded as a team player is particularly essential when you are up for selection. Evidence of ability to get on with and motivate others is highly valued by recruiters. Bear in mind that an effective team is made up of a range of different personalities. Usually, only one leader is required with lots of vacancies for contributors, communicators and collaborators. The best teams benefit from the input of a challenger, but this is an immensely risky role unless you have an exceptionally mature and thoughtful leader.
Teams that operate as the theories maintain they should are rare. In many workplaces there is little to support the rhetoric. But even so, the illusion of teamwork is carefully maintained. Those regarded as model team players are often highly skilled at presenting personal ambitions as strategies that benefit all. Exposing a bogus member is dangerous. Far better to observe and understand their approach, then adapt your moves accordingly.
© 2005 Association of Chartered Certified Accountants