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Skills for Being a Great Team Player at Work

Dear Joanna

One of the biggest challenges that I am facing today at my workplace is working in a team. As a business analyst, I am constantly involved in complicated projects working with different types of employees from various professionals and departments. How can I become a great team player yet be able to do my work and meet my deadlines?

Signed: Becoming a team player


Dear BTP

According to Michelle Edmunds, Founder and Job Search/Industry Coach at FocusIndustry Consulting as well as Employer Outreach and Placement Coordinator at Ryerson University, The Chang School (Middle- level Managers program), being helpful and easy to get along with people are considered good team players and valuable employees over and above people with better technical skills! Here are some suggestions for becoming a “great team player” as you requested:

1. Humility.

A prerequisite for working together or “unity” is humility. One of the fundamental

traits is the ability to acknowledge your mistakes and take responsibility for your actions (for

better or for worse). Understanding your strengths and your limitations are key. Ask for help.

Share the credit for your successes. “I couldn’t have done it without employees’ name(s), doing

the data entry.

2. Pay attention and listen to what is important to others.

Pass along information that you find valuable and think might benefit the employees in the group (technical or not). Listen and learn what other people do on the team and what they like to do. Ask questions (with permission first) that people will want to respond to and as a way to get to know them. This is a great way to build professional relationships with the individuals which helps you become a great team player.

3. Celebrate others’ accomplishments.

Praise co-workers for what they did well or for positive qualities you see in them. Make the compliment meaningful by explaining why you liked what they did. For example, “Thank you for being patient with me today. Now I understand the new database because you explained it so well.”

4. Volunteer

Volunteer to help people on your team with something they are having trouble with or to handle a task that no one likes to do.

5. Stay away from gossip.

Do not tell co-workers when you hear something bad about them at work or something good that someone else says! If you have a positive experience first-hand with the co-worker, then you can praise them (see #3). This puts you at risk of hiring the person and it may even start nasty rumours!

To submit your questions for this column IN CONFIDENCE, please email


Joanna Samuels, M.Ed., CMF, CTDP, RRP, is a certified Life Skills Coach, and certified Personality Dimensions Facilitator who is an employment coach-job developer at Jewish Vocational Services (JVS Toronto), and part-time instructor at George Brown College.

EMETemployment, a division of ©Jewish Vocational Service (JVS Toronto) is a free confidential employment support and referral service for job seekers from the Jewish community.  In addition,

EMETemployment offers employers recruitment services at no cost. For more information, please visit