Being a ‘team player’ is something often mentioned from the time we have our initial interview for just about any job we seek. It is definitely an important contributor to the success both desired and
achieved within an organization. What is puzzling to many however, is when and how their efforts to succeed as such seems to result in their realizing that they are being unfairly taken advantage of both by co-workers and management. It is often viewed a significant reason that many leave their job and go in search of one where their effort to be a successful team player is respected and valued for that alone.
Here are some traits of the valued team player:
- Enthusiastic commitment to their specific job focus and the part it plays in the overall project
- Recognizes the importance of fulfilling their responsibilities as it relates to the larger intended project and can be counted upon to do so reliably
- Willingness to be wrong when there proves to be a better plan or approach to the goal
- Demonstrates effective communication skills enabling all others to know where they and the tasks stand as well as providing their ideas for improving process or outcomes
- Adaptable to needed changes that allows the person to easily incorporate them as the project moves forward toward completion
- Sees oneself as a problem solver willing and able to actively work with others to eliminate and circumvent obstacles to the ultimate goal
- Inclined to do more than is expected or actually required of them
Wait! Stop! This last trait seems to be a prelude wherein a ‘giver’ begins to feel like one taken advantage of. And although the transition is often subtle and evolves slowly, the awareness is uncomfortable, unpleasant and very demotivating. Here are some ways that just might indicate that you, in your willingness to go above and beyond, now finds you in such a place:
- Your past demonstrated willingness to take on anything asked of you has become asituation wherein you are no longer asked. It is just presumed that you will.
- You are not thanked in any way for your efforts to go above and beyond.
- You are spending much of your time outside of any job description you thought defined your responsibilities.
- You are doing the job previously handled by more than one person … without acknowledgement, a time-limit or compensation.
- You find yourself on some form of a guilt trip if you want or need personal time off as you are expected to get the job done at work … relentlessly.
Are you seeing yourself in any of the above? As often, there is good news here. There are some things that you can actually do about it with positive results without feeling the need to leave the job and the organization.
- Think about and determine your personal value to the organization. What do you bring to it that is needed to succeed? What do others including co-workers and management see as what you offer that is perhaps unique to it?
- Identify and own what you personally bring to the organization and the specific job. This has nothing to do with being boastful. Rather is it feeling good about who you are and what you contribute that the organization needs.
- Willingly make certain your leaders know and understand the value you have brought to the organization, department or project. Doing this helps them to realize how you can serve the end goals and allow them to see you in this light.
- You are not competing to a personal win. Want respect? Then the best way to get it is to give it to others. Doing so publically is the best and enhances the valuable way you are seen as an important and contributing member of the effort.
- Being a constant ‘yes’ person can take you in the wrong direction. Saying ‘no’ when it impacts your ability to get your own needed tasks completed reinforces the value and importance of what you are charged with doing.
I imagine that some of you are reading this and nodding your head in recognition of your own or other observed experiences of this nature. Of course, when we feel trapped because of where we find ourselves we can always look for another workplace believing that this next move will be
different. But will it? Probably not especially if we, by nature, are the giver always willing to go above and beyond. Perhaps it’s better to recognize our own tendencies and head the issue off by setting boundaries to what we will allow ourselves to do, learning to say no … nicely and more often and having conversations with leadership. Worth a try? I say it is as I promise success in doing so will have a large impact on our attitude and enthusiasm for the work we do.
Joel Garfinkle: Career Advncmnt Blog: https://careeradvancementblog.com/positive-relationships-team-members/
Alyse Kalish: The Muse Blog: https://www.themuse.com/advice/6-signs-taken-advantage-of-at-work
Forbes: The Muse: https://www.forbes.com/sites/dailymuse/2015/08/07/6-ways-to-stop-being-taken-for-granted-at-work/#41d4e99e47be