You can never put enough emphasis on teamwork. An expression that applies well to teamwork is ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We’ve found that to be true at IMS. The more cohesive we get, the more successful we are. We believe in this a lot. We actually have a contest for best team player, and our next winners will be chosen in December 2015 and in May 2016, respectively. Teamwork is a value we want to permanently keep ‘top-of-mind’, as our business depends on it so much.

As individuals we have a natural tendency to drill down into our specialties and be less participatory as a result. Being aware of this natural tendency and wanting to fight against it, we asked ourselves: What does being a team player mean? We came up with a few answers, to help guide us in our work together and help ourselves become ‘team- playing experts’. Here they are, and we hope they might be of some use to you as well.

Be reliable

To be reliable, you have to cut through the half a million things in your day that clamour for your attention, and make sure you get done what you said you would do. Do this consistently every day and people will know they can count on you.

Communicate constructively

Communicate with respect and directly, and say what you think, honestly. Find a positive way to frame things, a way that helps the team understand your ideas and move forward.

Listen actively

Listen, understand and consider before you answer, to establish a constructive dialogue.   A team player can receive criticism without being defensive and create something positive out of it.

Participate actively

What initiatives can you take to help the team project be successful? Be ready to discuss them in team meetings. Participate, don’t sit back and wait for others.

Share information openly

Share your information, your knowledge, you experiences. Keep others on the team informed and help educate them.

Cooperate and offer help

When someone asks for help, don’t hesitate. Take initiative and offer help even when it isn’t asked for, if you see the opportunity to help move the team forward.

Be flexible

In this day and age, how can you not be? You have to accept that situations evolve, constantly. Don’t let yourself get stressed out just because something new came up. Examine different points of view. Compromise is a great tool in teamwork. Accept compromise when needed. Be open to other ideas, even if you think yours is the best. Accept others’ differences.

Be committed to your team

Put the best possible care into your work and into the team’s work. Do your best and expect that others will do the same.

Help solve problems

No matter how big the problem is, you can break it down with your team. Don’t blame others, don’t try to avoid problems. Give them your best shot.

Treat others with respect and solidarity

Always be polite, respectful and attentive. Be understanding and supportive of other team members. A sense of humour can help.

To sum up

Some of theses things might sound kind of simple but we’ve found that just being reminded of them can suddenly change your perspective and help re-energize your team effort.

Remember, if you look at the job descriptions of the individuals on any particular team, you’ll find that what’s on paper is a long way behind what that team can actually accomplish.

Did we miss anything? What works for your team? We’d be very interested in hearing from you.