Everybody has found themselves caught on a team with an ineffective team member. Maybe it was somebody who didn’t want to be there and passive-aggressively resisted the team’s efforts, or worked against them. Maybe it was just someone who was ineffective, lazy, uninterested, or miscast. On the other hand, we have probably also had the privilege to serve with highly effective, high capacity achievers. Here’s a few things they all share in common:
1. Emotional Health
Simple as it sounds, this one is foundational to the rest. The effective team member, the aspiring leader, the leader worth following must have, or at least be actively cultivating, emotional health and stability. This means they’re balanced, they don’t overreact, anger is managed or, better yet, absent. They are not jealous nor do they ever participate in gossip. They are not anxious or easily upset. They know when they are facing burnout and find appropriate rest, but they are also self-motivated when it comes to getting the job done.
2. Commitment to the Cause
To really be effective, a valuable team member is going to be 100% sold out for what it is you are doing: that includes your mission, values, strategy, and agenda. These people also know how to prioritize, choosing what is most important, and how to focus their work for the greatest impact when it comes to the mission.
3. Solutions Instead of Problems
Ever notice how people who are a problem on your team always make themselves known because they’re the ones who are constantly bringing problems to your attention. In any given discussion they can be relied on to tell you everything that is wrong and what doesn’t work. Valuable team members never approach team efforts from this perspective. Instead they are all about answers.
4. Accessible and Responsible
Highly effective people are accessible. They don’t isolate from the team or work in a silo. They make themselves available, they care about the burdens and responsibilities of others, and are willing to help out. Their teammates can count on them to do their part and move projects forward. They understand that communication is the key to collaboration.
5. Servant Leadership
The best team members, the ones who are a joy to serve with are themselves servants…at least that’s the way they approach their role. In fact, they have the heart of a servant and approach their work with selflessness, first asking the question “how can I serve the team?”
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