Many people think that your career path is supposed to lead you to a leadership role eventually. You might think that you need to develop leadership skills to stay relevant in your work, but that may not necessarily be true. You can only have so many leaders in one organization, and leaders need to be able to count on members of their teams to follow directions and get the job done.
The truth is, not everybody is cut out to be a leader, and that’s okay. You may not have the temperament for it, or you may not want to take on additional responsibility. Leaders tend to spend a lot of time on paperwork, or in meetings. For some people, that sounds like a nightmare. They would rather be a part of the team and not have to worry about all the details. Being an excellent team member is an important skill in life and work.
What Makes a Great Team Member?
Have you ever worked with someone else on a project for school or work? Everybody has worked with a few bad team members in their life. Bad team members make everybody else’s job harder because they can’t be counted on.
Great team members are:
- Reliable – Great team members can be counted on to show up and get the job done. They are consistent performers and produce consistent results.
- Motivated – Great team members are self-motivated and don’t have to be micromanaged or pushed.
- Honest – Great team members are honest and will own their mistakes.
- Dedicated – Great team members don’t give up, even when things go wrong. You can count on them to give 100%.
- Conscientious – Great team members care deeply about doing their best work, every time. They are open to feedback and learning new ways of doing things.
- Hard-working – Great team members have a strong work ethic. They aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty and to do what needs to be done.
Are Team Members Less Important than Leaders?
Certainly not. If you look beyond the leaders in any organization, you will quickly see that the members of the team are the ones getting the work done. Without them, nothing works.
The way that a team works together is critically important to the success of the organization. For this reason, the leadership you exhibit in your role as a teammate can be even more impactful than that of the actual managers.
It is the best of both worlds in some ways. You get to work closely with peers to achieve goals without having to deal with the paperwork. Your contributions as a peer leader can have a tremendous influence on the final deliverables, but you will have the flexibility needed to step into a different role for the next project.
In this way, you can leverage your strengths to help you bring value to the team without having to worry about dealing with upper management. Take advantage of the opportunity to strengthen your peer network, build your skills, and establish an outstanding professional reputation.