To be successful in the financial planning profession, or any other profession for that matter, being a team player is essential. A team player can be defined as a selfless, accountable, and productive employee who listens to their colleagues and is willing to make sacrifices for the well-being of the company and its stakeholders. Team players understand their role and identify opportunities to add value or support a colleague in accomplishing tasks. You’ll never hear a team player say, “that’s not my job”.
Here are the defining qualities of a team player:
A Positive Attitude: Throughout your career you’ll encounter volatile markets, frustrated clients, temperamental co-workers, and impatient supervisors. You can’t control any of those things, but you can control how you respond to them. Team members who have a positive attitude become respected leaders and irreplaceable pillars in times of turmoil.
Active Listening Skills: In a world where everyone is distracted by technology, possessing active listening skills will set you apart. Active listeners engage in the conversation with eye contact, body language, and by asking open-ended questions. The best team players listen to what others have to say and aren’t overly anxious to interject on every issue. People in this world want to be heard so hear them.
Accountability: We all make mistakes, and you’ll make them throughout your career. Taking ownership of those mistakes and responsibly mitigating them is a unique ability that will be appreciated by the entire team. It isn’t always easy, but accountability is crucial to being part of a successful team.
Timeliness: Time is our most precious commodity. Showing up to work, meetings, and company functions, on time, sends a message that you value everyone’s time. When you keep your teammates waiting, you’re telling them that you don’t value their time. Everyone’s time is valuable and your actions should reflect that constantly. Show up prepared, focused, and on time.
Gratitude: Showing gratitude in the workplace can be difficult at times. The busy demands of a career does not always leave time for niceties. However, showing gratitude to your co-workers can go a long way in making a positive impact on the team. When you thank a co-worker, you’re telling them how much you value their contribution to the team. Never underestimate the power of a sincere “Thank You”.
True team players are increasingly rare in our industry. Those who place the success of their team before themselves often become indispensable. Take time to focus on the five qualities we’ve outlined and execute tasks at the highest level you can. If you do so, your bosses will notice, your co-workers will be more likely to seek collaboration, and the firm’s clients will be better served. A win-win for all!