For better or worse, we are defined by our habits. What we consistently do sets the boundaries of our comfort zone.

Since we tend to function at the mean of our comfort zone, our habits play a crucial part in determining the extent of our success. Successful people have habits that facilitate their success. Good teammates have habits that facilitate their teams’ success.

Here are ten habits of good teammates:

1. They Respect Time

Time is everyone’s most cherished commodity. Good teammates value their time and that of others by practicing efficiency, keeping on schedule, and refusing to be late. And they hold their teammates accountable to the same standards.

2. They Adjust Their Mood

Individuals who “wear their emotions on their sleeve” make for poor teammates. Good teammates adjust their mood to meet the needs of their team. If the team is flat, they project energy. If the team is despondent, they project hope. If the team is overzealous, they project restraint.

3. They Speak with Tact

Situations occasionally emerge where we are called to confront behaviors that threaten our team’s culture. While it may be tempting to convey disapproval with brutality, good teammates confront with tact. They speak their demands without being demeaning.

4. They Empathize Before They Criticize

Passing judgment without first considering possible mitigating circumstances can lead to resentment and misunderstandings—which fracture teams. Good teammates consider issues from alternative viewpoints before they criticize offenders.

5. They Seek Opportunities to Learn

When it comes to knowledge, good teammates are not content with the status quo. They are lifelong learners who continuously seek opportunities to increase their knowledge. Becoming more knowledgeable puts them in a better position to help their team grow.

6. They Solicit Self-Assessment

Related to the previous point, good teammates want to become better versions of themselves. They realize others may not always be able or willing to provide them with adequate feedback, so they proactively self-assess. They have the humility to routinely ask themselves What can I do better?

7. They Engage in Self-Care

Mental, emotional, and physical health affect our capacity to serve. Good teammates engage in self-care by eating properly, exercising regularly, and getting sufficient rest. They take care of themselves, so they are able to care of others.

8. They Stay Connected

Good teammates make a conscious effort to maintain connections with the other members of their team, even if doing so requires them to be inconvenienced. When they can’t connect through in-person interactions, they utilize phone calls, text messages, emails, handwritten notes, and social media.

9. They Listen with Intent

We learn through listening, not speaking. Good teammates are intentional listeners in that they listen with the purpose of discovering the speakers’ thoughts. Good teammates don’t interrupt others and they don’t think about their response while others are speaking. They focus on what is being said and why it is being said.

10. They Grasp the Influence of Their Example

Our example is everything! Humans are wired to look to others for behavioral guidance. Mirror neurons cause us to mimic the words and actions of those with whom we surround ourselves. Good teammates demonstrate their awareness of this situation in every decision they make.

Bad habits can confine us. Good habits can refine us. If you want to define yourself as a good teammate, you must develop good habits.

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

Lance Loya is the founder and CEO of the Good Teammate Factory. 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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