How To Play On The Team

Accepting responsibility for one’s actions is key to being a successful team player.


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Let us look at two team players who were in similar circumstances, yet took two completely different approaches to their jobs. Both are breadwinners and both need a paycheck.

Both employees were hired at the same time and began proving their worth immediately. However, 6 months later, both had to take off work several times for medical reasons and family commitments.

The organization was disappointed that it hired employees who were not available as much as had been expected. The rest of the team was also less than thrilled with the performances of the two individuals.

The first employee began criticizing the organization for its lack of sensitivity regarding the absences. But the second employee felt that the organization was probably not happy with the two workers for being continually absent.

The first employee spent hours talking to anyone who would listen about how unfair the team leader was for not understanding the situation. In the course of explaining his position, this employee put more and more energy into the negative outcomes he had experienced.

He also felt that the boss was unfair. He couldn't believe how unorganized everybody was and how others couldn't seem to make up their minds. He began seeing all of the things that were wrong with the team and the organization. This person talked about how he planned to find a better job as soon as possible because his treatment by the organization wasn't fair.

The second employee also talked to his co-workers, but his attitude toward the situation was quite different. He felt that if he were in charge of the team, he would not be very happy with his own performance or the absences.

This employee's approach was to re-ignite the confidence in management and his colleagues that was present when he was initially assigned to the team. He decided that he was going to convince everyone that, even though there had been some hiccups in his attendance, it was a wise decision to make him part of the team.

These two very different attitudes are played out daily in organizations all over the world. Some employees approach difficult situations by taking full responsibility for all that is occurring in their lives. But there are also employees who fall into the habit of blaming others for the circumstances in which they find themselves.

This "blame game" shows a lack of maturity and it can be played by both the young and the old. Some young employees can be very mature while some older employees demonstrate a lack of maturity despite their years of experience. Of course, the opposite can also be true.

It is not necessarily a matter of age so much as a sense of self worth. Those who accept responsibility for their actions seem to mature more rapidly than those who fall into a pattern of blaming others for their problems.

Teamwork requires a sense of maturity. That maturity creates an atmosphere that is much more conducive to producing positive outcomes. When people accept responsibility and consequences for their actions, they put themselves on the right path—the path of determination and achievement.

What path are you helping others take by your actions?

Precision Machined Products Association