Want to be a better teammate? Want to help individuals on your team be better teammates? Here are 12 rules for being a good teammate:

1. Share more than your possessions. Be generous with your time, your energy, and your knowledge. Don’t keep them to yourself. Share them with your teammates, because they ward off selfishness.

2. Choose what’s best for the team. Instead of thinking “What’s in it for me?” consider what’s best for your team. Put WE ahead of ME and follow that course of action.

3. Prioritize your teams. Some of your “teams” (Ex: social circle, job, sports team, family etc.) require a greater commitment than others. Conflicting interests can pull you in different directions and cause you to be a poor teammate on both teams. Set a pecking order and decide which of your teams will come first.

4. Master your emotions. Don’t let your emotions negatively impact your team. Emotional outbursts related to jealously, anger, and disappointment will take a toll on any team. Be in control of your emotions.

5. Confront toxicity. If someone or something on your team is disrupting your team’s culture, you have an obligation to confront it. Don’t sit back and wait for toxic behavior to go away. Courageously call attention to the issue and confront it.

6. Demonstrate humility. Let no task be beneath you. Pick up the trash. Sweep the floor. Wipe the tables. If it helps the team, set your ego aside and do it.

7. Commit to self-improvement. When you get better, your team gets better. Actively seek ways for you to improve as an individual. An investment in improving your self is an investment in the team.

8. Ask “why?” before you act. Practice empathy. Get to the root of the problem before you pass judgement. Try to understand the issue from the other person’s perspective so you can come up with the best possible solution.

9. Care. Everything matters to you. Apathy cannot be allowed to creep into your psyche. When something good happens to a teammate, don’t be jealous. Be happy for him or her. When something bad happens to a teammate, don’t rejoice. Be there to help him or her get back up—literally and figuratively.

10. Don’t care. Sound counter to the previous rule? It is. But good teammates care about everything, except who gets the credit. Remember: when one of us wins, we all win. A teammate’s success is always the product of another teammate’s sacrifice.

11. Be viral. Despite pop culture’s attempt to hijack the term, “viral” does not mean “popular.” It means “to spread.” Allow your enthusiasm and positive attitude to be contagious and spread through your team. Viral behavior leads to momentum.

12. Buy in and commit. Have trust in the process and trust in the mission. Set your objections aside and put your efforts into making the mission work.

As always…Good teammates care. Good teammates share. Good teammates listen. Go be a good teammate.

Lance Loya is a leading authority on the good teammate mindset. He is a college basketball coach turned author, blogger, and professional speaker, who inspires TEAMBUSTERS to become TEAMMATES. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, or through his weekly Teammate Tuesday blog.


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