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Team Member Qualities, Part 2

Welcome back to another helping of team skills – to help you be a better team member and therefore make your team awesome!


As noted in my [LINK] first post of this series, there are lots of amazing ideas in the book, “Teams that Work,” and I want to share my take on some.


Fulfill your commitments – do what you say you will do and complete your assignments.


Confession time – when I delegate a task, or ask someone to complete something for me, I assume that they’ll just do it. I don’t generally check back in with them, nor do I assume that they need to be reminded that they said they’d complete that task.


As a Scrum Master, Development Manager, Product Manager, or Project Manager, it can often feel like you’re always asking “Did you complete X?” or “When will Y be done?” And the number of meetings held to ensure that this information gets reported to all the right people can feel overwhelming.


Make your word your commitment. If you can’t do it, or if it is delayed, or if you have questions, say so. And provide this information as early as possible.


Be an effective communicator.


While most adults in the work world understand that they don’t have the same information as others, it’s easy to forget. As a manager, I quickly learned the importance of a mantra I learned when I first started teaching: “tell them what you’re going to tell them; tell them; tell them what you just told them.” Repetition is your friend. Even if you think everyone knows all the information, there’s a good chance that someone was out of the office or missed the memo.


There’s a passage in the book “Crucial Conversations” that talks about ensuring that the common pool of knowledge is filled with information from everyone’s perspectives. Ensuring that you’re contributing to the common pool of knowledge is critical in teams.


Care more about what is right than who is right.


“Collaborative” disagreement will help your team much better than continually trying to get everyone to agree with your idea. And who knows? Maybe, if you listen to all the ideas, there may be some combination of those ideas that will work even better. Chocolate and peanut butter, anyone?


Acknowledge your mistakes and voice your appreciation.


This kind of goes along with caring about what is right. It’s often hard to admit that we are wrong (I know I hate that), and very few work cultures make it easy to admit mistakes. And then when someone helps you out, how do you thank them?


I recommend a couple of things here. Practice saying, “I was mistaken,” or “I was wrong.” AND practice saying, "Thanks for your help.”


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