Are you a true team player?

  • Published
  • By Carole Packham
  • ARPC Chief, Retirements and Separations Division, Directorate of Personnel Program Management
Are you a true team player? Or, are you just on a team? 

A team can be a group of individuals working on similar issues. A good team is a group of people who are willing to go out of their way to make each other look good and do whatever it takes to get the work accomplished. People in every organization talk about team spirit and working as a team, but very few understand the importance of working as a team especially when it comes to providing good customer service. 

Have you ever wondered why it is so difficult to get people to work together as a team? I know I have. 

Maybe one of the reasons can be traced back to the invention of the computer.

Now don't get me wrong, the computer is a wonderful invention. Computers allow us to do practically anything for ourselves. If we want to take a trip, we can simply go online and find a flight and make the reservations ourselves. If we want to apply for a job, anywhere in the world, we can go online and fi ll out an application and submit it along with our resume. If we want to check our bank balance, we can either go online or a computer voice will tell us over the phone. 

With all these services available that allow the individual to "do it yourself," it is easy to lose track of the importance of working together as a team. 

Have computers turned us all into individuals who don't need anyone else? Hopefully this is not the case. No matter how much we can do individually, we still need to work together to get the job accomplished. 

In a team oriented environment, the individual contributes to the overall success of an organization. However, individual accomplishments are only one piece of the puzzle. Just like a track team running a relay race, the team cannot win the race if even one of the team members stumbles or drops the baton. Your team cannot succeed unless everyone pulls together and works as a good team. Getting your individual part done is only the first step in working as a team. Once the individual part is complete, you need to take that next step by helping a teammate get their part accomplished. Just remember, helping your team members will not hold you back. Helping them will ultimately help the entire team succeed. 

Instead of being just an individual on a team, create that sense of good will and show your desire to work together as a good team. The next time you see one of your team members struggling, offer to help. Or even better, if you see something that needs to be done, don't wait to be asked, simply pitch in and help with whatever needs to be done. You not only will be taking a step to becoming a true team member, but it might even make you feel good. 

When a team works well together, customers can feel it and the ARPC team succeeds.