Monday, July 16, 2012

Team player or team slayer?

Team player or team slayer?

Are you the first to suggest a quick trip to your local screen-printing shop, a job-lot of Cotton Traders T-shirts under your arm, and a stirring slogan up your sleeve?

As a seasoned supporter of team-building activities, you’ll be the first in line at the zip-wire, and a fully paid-up subscriber to the saying “There’s no I in team.” Chances are, you’ll be the last team member still sporting your team T-shirt at the end of the day too.

Being part of a team – whether you volunteer to practice sport as a member of a club or are badgered into building a raft with a group of colleagues – offers a comradeship and many accompanying advantages.

A shared goal or interest can unite people from a variety of backgrounds, and you may end up being in the company of people with whom you wouldn’t ordinarily spend time. A common interest brings people of different ages and genders together, and can instil a sense of support and kinship. Chances are, you’ll delight in the achievements of your comrades and commiserate with their disappointments.

Being a team player is also highly applauded in professional environments.  It pretty much constitutes a prerequisite for most positions and their job profiles. It would also be extremely unwise not to mention your capacity for contributing to the greater good and abetting your allies when selling your skills as a potential employee.  

Yet, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility to imagine that the odd white lie is told on a job application. Most of us, at one point or another, have probably worked with an individual whose prime concern isn’t necessarily that of being a team player.

Such conduct can be due to a self-seeking or egotistic nature, where the individual’s prime concern is for their own aggrandisement. Yet equally, some people may just find it difficult to work with colleagues. They may lack the ability to communicate effectively with others, and their candid manner could come across as being curt. Much can be lost in translation and confused signals can create hostility.

We’re told that “no man is an island.” And yet, a person’s preference may be for solitude and a spot of naval-gazing. Being handed a team T-shirt and told to undertake a task about trust would certainly make for a bad day at the office for the disinclined.


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