Oswald Letter

13 characteristics of a great teammate

Together we can do anythingby Dan Oswald

We all have worked side by side with people we have enjoyed and respected—the type of teammates who make work fun. And we all have worked with people whom, well, we didn’t enjoy or respect—the type of teammates who suck all the joy out of work for everyone around them. So, there’s obviously people who make better teammates than others. What are some of the distinguishing characteristics of great team members?

Here are some characteristics I found in those who have been great teammates to me:

  1. Great teammates are selfless. They put the goals of the team and the organization above their own. They will do whatever it takes to help the team succeed.
  2. Great teammates are scrappy. They hustle and scramble to do what the team needs. They’re undeterred by setbacks and keep pushing for the ultimate goal.
  3. Great teammates are humble. They don’t talk about how smart they are or how good they are. They talk about how great the team is and how much the team has accomplished.
  4. Great teammates are sincere. They aren’t fake. They don’t put on false pretenses. They’re just honest, good-hearted people who care about those around them.
  5. Great teammates have high expectations. They set ambitious goals and achieve them. They don’t settle but instead challenge themselves and others to constantly get better.
  6. Great teammates are innovative. They know that there’s more than one way to do any job. They’re willing to try new ideas and take chances. They understand that taking risks can lead to big breakthroughs.
  7. Great teammates are hard workers. They are willing to go the extra mile. No job is beneath them if it will help the team succeed. They just roll up their sleeves and do what’s necessary.
  8. Great teammates are optimistic. They see the positive in every situation and believe in their ability to succeed. They don’t waste time complaining about the hand they’ve been dealt but instead endeavor to change it. They get others to see the opportunity and rally around their optimism.
  9. Great teammates treat others with respect. They understand that everyone has something to contribute regardless of position or status. They make others feel good about themselves and their role on the team.
  10. Great teammates collaborate. They understand that much more can be achieved as a team than can be achieved individually. They contribute their talents and experience to a group effort. They’re capable of working with others for the common good.
  11. Great teammates are self-motivated. They take pride in their work, and the satisfaction of doing it well drives their actions. They inspire those around them with their dedication and effort.
  12. Great teammates are passionate. They love what they do, and it shows. They bring an infectious intensity and joy to their work.
  13. Great teammates lead by example. Their actions speak louder than their words. They don’t talk about what they’re going to do; they just do it.

Great teammates are defined by their actions. They show up every day and demonstrate one or many of the characteristics listed above. And this list is by no means complete. There are other ways great teammates distinguish themselves every day. I’d love to hear from you about a defining characteristic of someone who has been a great teammate to you.

1 thought on “13 characteristics of a great teammate”

  1. I love this article. I would add “Great teammates are trustworthy.” You can count on them; their actions build trust, on purpose. And equally as important, they trust others; they trust their motives, think and expect the best of people, and not assume the worst.

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