6 ways to becoming a better team player at work

If you’re an actuary or data scientist, who wants to have an edge the next time you’re up for a pay rise or promotion, prove you’re a team player. To boost your own profile (and reap the rewards), first you must help others succeed.

That’s because teamwork isn’t just good for company morale, it also sets you up for greater success at your job. Teamwork brings together different points of view and allows for creativity and fresh ideas to flourish. Plus, you have trusted people you can fall back on for support, which means there’s less stress resting solely on your shoulders, which means you’re freer to take smart risks.

So how do you go about working well with others? Check out these seven ways to be a great team player.

Meet your deadlines

To earn your co-workers’ goodwill, you have to be reliable, put simply: you want to establish yourself as trustworthy—someone who produces high-quality work in a timely fashion. If you say you’re going to do something, you do it and do it well.

Reliability is especially important during group projects; after all, if you miss a deadline, your mistake can negatively affect the entire team.

Be open-minded

Part of being a team player is being open to other people’s ideas and perspectives. That means honing your listening skills and being receptive to feedback from co-workers. So, instead of getting defensive when you receive constructive criticism, see what you can glean from their advice.

In fact, the strongest team players solicit feedback from their co-workers. For instance, after completing a group assignment, ask peers for suggestions on how to improve on your next project.

Appreciate other people’s work styles

Figuring out how to work well with a variety of personalities can be challenging, particularly in today’s multigenerational workforce. However, understanding how each of your colleagues works best can make you a better team player.

Tailoring your communication style to different personalities can help you avoid issues with co-workers and collaborate more efficiently. Here’s a free personality quiz you can take to determine which one of these 16 personality types of describes you best, and how you can work well with the others.

Adapt quickly

Not everything you do as a team is going to result in success; there could be failures along the way. But getting hung up on mistakes only holds back your progress. That’s why flexibility is one of the key traits of a team player. So, the next time you encounter a problem at work, make sure you respond judiciously.

Instead of being upset that something didn’t work out, step back and say, “Okay, I know we have to go in a different direction. Let’s figure out what we’re going to do.”

Focus on the team’s goals

While you want to distinguish yourself as a top performer, it’s still important to focus on the bigger picture when working on a group project. The ultimate foundation of being a team player is a person being willing and able to put the team’s interests above his or her own. You may have done a great job on the part of a pricing model you were responsible for, but that matters very little if the overall project fails to achieve what you needed it to do.

Celebrate your peers’ successes

One of the easiest ways to build authentic relationships with co-workers is to give credit where it’s due.

Ideal team players are humble. Humble people are quick to point out the contributions of others and slow to seek attention for their own. They share credit, emphasize team over self, and define success collectively rather than individually.

For example, at your next department meeting, take a minute to publicly thank that co-worker for helping you put together last week’s client update. By celebrating a co-worker’s success, he or she will likely do the same for you in the future.

If you’re looking to advance your actuarial career or simply seek advice on how to improve your skill set, get in touch by calling +44 (0)20 3773 2321 or email info@hewittstone.com to arrange a confidential and informal chat.

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