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Teamwork II – Using Soft Skills as a Member of a Team

Teamwork II – Using Soft Skills as a Member of a Team

tug of war1Last week’s post on Team building was from the perspective of the builder, or leader of a team. However, you don’t have to be the leader to be an integral part of the team-building process. Being a member of a team provides its own opportunities for building and sustaining a team culture. Whether you are a new team member or veteran, the opportunities are there for you to learn, grow and actively participate in team growth. The basics for any team member are to know your role, understand what is expected of you, and what the limits of your role are. If you feel unclear about your role ask the team’s leader for clarification.

Critical to your understanding is to recognize the kind of team you are in. Is it a classic “command and control” organization that is highly hierarchical —  strong, top-down leadership with clear, subordinate roles (think military), or does the organization take a more collaborative approach, in which discussion and free expression is allowed and even encouraged? This discernment will guide you in understanding your place on the team; how you should act and perform within it.

As a member of a team it is also important to get a sense of the other roles on the team. In some more progressive organizations, team members are given the opportunity to experience other roles through job sharing and time spent with other team members. This is a great way to expand the knowledge and effectiveness of all team members.  Recognizing and understanding each other’s’ roles and responsibilities helps the cohesiveness and effectiveness of the team as a whole. It also provides valuable back up should someone be away for an extended period of time. If your team environment does not actively allow for role sharing, then take the initiative and talk to other team members. Find out what they do and how they do it, and what they expect of you in your role.

Whether you are a member of a team or its leader, the topics covered in these blogs over the past eight weeks are very relevant, and as I alluded to in my last blog, really boils down to the importance of Social Intelligence (also known as Emotional Intelligence). TRACOM defines Social Intelligence as: “the ability to understand and manage our Behavioral Style, Mindset and Emotional Intelligence to optimize interpersonal relationships. It deals with unconscious biases that we may not yet understand, but that can be learned and controlled. At its heart, Social Intelligence is the science of productive relationships. And modern neuroscience shows that it can be harnessed and improved. Organizations that foster Social Intelligence experience higher performance because their teams become more productive, collaborative and resilient.”

SI model

A shameless plug here. If you want to know more about Tracom’s programs, I am certified in SOCIAL STYLEs – connect with me.

This is the eighth in a series of posts exploring Soft Skills and why they are so important to your success in any endeavour.


John Whitehead, MA, CEC, coaches individuals and organizations in becoming more effective by helping them improve their interpersonal communications, emotional intelligence and resiliency.

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