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Bulletproof Your Career

By October 8, 2015December 19th, 2016No Comments

Then forget about “me” – it’s all about “we”. Businesswoman, author and entrepreneur Janine Garner gives the top five reasons why you need to be a team player in today’s workforce

There’s a new kid on the block when it comes to workplace behaviour, particularly if you are looking to thrive at a leadership level. The days of hiding away in a corner office, gazing out the window in splendid isolation, are well and truly over. To forge a successful path, it’s all about engagement with others and understanding that there really is no “I” in team.

Welcome to the “we” space – and the theory that lies behind commercial collaboration. Here’s how you can use it to future-proof your career.

1. Be willing to share credit when credit is due: The temptation to take all the glory for your team’s success can be overwhelming when you have led a project. But understanding everybody needs to be given accolades, no matter how insignificant their part in the eventual win may seem, is critical. This leads to greater engagement and trust. In return, team members feel empowered and are more likely to give a better performance – and future projects will be even more successful, leading to larger rewards for you.

2. Be brave enough to share your weaknesses: Too often in the workplace, we see admitting a lack of knowledge or understanding as admitting failure. But this is actually a form of strength because it shows our peers and subordinates that we are willing to seek help and show vulnerability. This engenders trust and encourages others to admit the same issues. The end result? If there is a problem with a task or project, an individual is far more likely to speak up sooner and avert major disaster – and you may also learn something new.

3. Appreciate the value of intellectual currency: Not everything is about the bottom line. Focusing inwards and seeing only your own KPIs and bonus targets means you miss out on banking others’ knowledge. It’s rapidly becoming apparent that skills are an increasingly valuable currency for corporates and entrepreneurs alike. Suggest to a team mate that you “swap” a skill for a skill – teach each other something you previously had no knowledge of. It will stand you in good stead.

4. Stand up and be counted: Part of teamwork is the ability to change situations that are not acceptable. If you think an idea could be improved or your workplace has unacceptable conditions for members of your team, then don’t just sit there. You have a responsibility as a leader to make decisions, to start change and to be a part of the whole – and sometimes it involves shaking the tree.

5. Don’t be afraid to network: If you network effectively, it can provide a truly collaborative workspace. Professional networks are essential to give support, encouragement and knowledge along the upwards progression path. This isn’t the whole “have as many people as possible in your email list” type of network, but like-minded thinkers who understand what you want to achieve and who you want to support in kind.

Teamwork and collaboration are ways to stabilise and stand firm in a shifting and unsteady commercial environment. That “me, me, me” place you’re in at the moment, doesn’t get you very far.

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