10 characteristics of a good team player

by | Dec 8, 2015

What makes a good team player?

We all have different ideas of what makes a good team player. Someone's ideal candidate is another's nightmare

What makes a good team player?

What makes a good team player?

The words "good team player" are frequently bandied about leadership and talent management circles, with much talk about cultural fit, especially during the recruitment process.  The meaning can vary widely depending on the composition of the rest of the team, the management style of the leader and overall corporate culture. One person's idea of a good team player, is another's nightmare. Once the hard skill composition of a team is complementary, hiring managers look for balance on soft skills.

But there do seem to be some over-riding common characteristics of an ideal or at least good team player, which they look for in most candidates. Some will exhibit some qualities more strongly than others. This is why gender balanced and diverse teams are so important.

What are hiring managers looking for to achieve overall balance?

Here are 10 broad qualities:

1. Good listening skills

Attentive listening skills are some of the most important attributes of a successful team player. Being prepared to sit down and really understand what is going on around you is a sure-fire way to integrate  and contribute effectively into any team.

2. Giving recognition

Giving credit and recognition where it is due, is part of creating a collaborative and supportive environment. Any team member concerned about their ideas being hi-jacked, leads to an atmosphere of distrust. It is the nemesis of innovation and disruption and leads to protectionism and stagnation.

3. Work ethic and focus

An ideal teammate demonstrates a basic commitment and work ethic. This creates a dynamic atmosphere and "can-do" culture, where everyone strives to give their best performance and learn continuously to achieve the best results for the team.

4. Good manners

There is no substitute for good manners and no excuse for poor ones. The rude team-mate creates discord, which basic social skills and niceties overcome. Red flags can even be evident in the recruitment process. If a candidate exhibits poor manners at any point, chances are they will re-surface. Some companies even check with receptionists and admin staff how the candidate interacted.

If your company wants to build a strong and gender balanced team - contact 3Plus

5. Empathetic

A good team player can put herself in another's shoes and understand situations from their standpoint. That doesn't mean to say they will agree, or their boundaries are blurred, but it facilitates an atmosphere of constructive communication.

Read: How to achieve constructive communication

 6. Ethical

A good team player will display integrity and ethical behaviour. Many organisations have been caught out by the "normalisation of deviancy " as we have seen with the recent VW, FIFA and financial services  scandals, where even illegal activities and solutions become meshed into corporate culture to become acceptable.  We have seen the disastrous effect this has on a business or organisation.

Read: FIFA Volkswagen need more women in senior roles.

7. Sense of humour

A sense of humour is vital to being a good team player. A smile communicates with everyone. Humour when properly employed generates a positive environment and energy.

Read: 6 daily habits to boost your confidence

8. Reliable

An ideal team player  is reliable. You can count on her to deliver when she says she is going to and communicate when there are problems. There is nothing more damaging to a team than having a member who is unreliable.women_shaking_hands_main

9. Accountable

Being accountable for performance and decisions is part of making a strong contribution to a team effort. Anyone who passes the buck, can't confront issues, or makes lame excuses, damages team performance.

10. Committed

A good  team player will show commitment to the team. Anyone who is not totally on board, or has diffused agendas  or low motivation, sends mixed messages which can impact overall team performance.

What would you add?

Would you like to add more women to your teams? Contact 3Plus  for immediate results


Dorothy Dalton Administrator
Dorothy Dalton is CEO of 3Plus International. A specialist in diversity and bias conscious executive search, she supports organizations to achieve business success via gender balance, diversity and inclusion. She is CIPD qualified, and a certified coach and trainer including digital learning.
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