Contributing to Team Success


Actively participating as a member of a team to move the team/work unit toward the completion of goals. Click here for associated skills and behaviors.

Ways to Demonstrate this Skill

Development Activities

  • Actively help the team or work unit accomplish its goals.

  • Ask what are the teamís specific goals and objectives. If there are none, work with other team members to create some. Do all you can to ensure they are measurable.

  • Find out what are the teamís milestones, dates and check-in times to make sure the team can track progress toward goals. If there are none, work with other team members to create them.

  • Find out what are the roles and responsibilities of the team members. If there are none, work with other team members to define these.

  • Suggest procedures or processes for achieving team goals. Help the team obtain resources as necessary.

  • Where possible, help clear away obstacles to the team's accomplishments.


  • Find a respected colleague or friend  that you see as a good team player and ask them to mentor and advise you as you develop these skills in yourself.

  • Treat your work unit as a team and try out some of the team behaviors described here with them. Discuss your experiences with the mentor you identified, above.

  • If your team or work unit runs into organizational or other obstacles, look for ways to help the team get around the obstacles yourselves. Help your teammates brainstorm sources, contacts, and approaches.

  • Ask managers or senior staff to help you and other team members build a ďbusiness caseĒ for requesting any resources that the team needs but is finding it hard to get.

  • Involve others and keep them informed.

  • In team decisions and actions, actively seek the input of quiet team members, and ask what would make it easier for them to participate.

  • Listen to others respectfully and fully. Recognize and use the differences and talents of others.

  • Share information with everyone on the team.

  • Together with your team, make a list of decisions and actions the team must make in the next couple of months. Pick three or four of the most important ones.

  • For each, list the stakeholders Ė people who will in some way be affected by the decision (their support will be needed, their work will be impacted, etc.). Work with the team to identify ways to involve these stakeholders.

  • Use the behaviors described in the next column to keep everyone interested and involved.


  • Model commitment.

  • Energetically and publicly pursue the teamís goals, and  adhere to the teamís defined roles, responsibilities, and processes.

  • Demonstrate enthusiasm and commitment for the teamís projects and initiatives as a way of motivating yourself and others. Choose to have a can-do attitude; approach challenges with optimism and energy.

  • If you disagree with something the team is doing, raise your objection with the team. When you are in public, speak out in support of the teamís initiatives and decisions.

  • When your team or work unit encounters problems or setbacks, work at responding with energy, interest, and enthusiasm for finding a way to solve the problem.

  • Avoid revisiting past history of problems, except to look for data that will help the team solve the current one.


Developmental Resources


     If you find workshops a good way for you to learn and develop, and there are funds available, look for classes or workshops that address the following:

  • How to be a good team member

  • Good listening skills

  • How to influence others

  • How to lead effective meetings


  • Group process skills.


     The following books are resources on developing teams:

      Team Building

        Beich, Elaine. (2001). The Pfeiffer Book of Successful Team Building Tools: Best of  

      the Annuals. San Francisco: Pfeiffer-Jossey/Bass.


 Jude-York, D., Davis, L.D., and Wise, S.L. (2000) Virtual Teaming: Breaking the     

 Boundaries of Time and Place. Crisp Publications (


 Harrington-MacKin, Deborah (1993). The Team Building Tool Kit: Tips, Tactics and  

 Rules for Effective Workplace Teams. AMACOM.


 Sibbet, D. and Drexler, A. (2000) Team Startup: Creating Gameplans for Success.   

 Publisher: Grove Consulting International (



      Facilitating Effective Team Meetings and Managing Multi-stakeholder Dialogues

     Kaner, Sam. (1996). The Facilitatorís Guide to Participatory Decision Making. Philadelphia, PA: New Society Publishers.

     Kearny, Lynn (1995) The Facilitatorís Toolkit: Tools and Techniques for Developing Ideas and Making Decisions in Groups. Amherst, MA: HRD Press.

     Spencer, Laura J. (1989). Winning Through Participation: The Group Facilitation Methods of the Institute of Cultural Affairs. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt.

     Strauss, David. (2002) How To Make Collaboration Work: Powerful Ways to Build Consensus, Solve Problems and Make Decisions San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

      Changing the way people interact and work together

     Kegan, R. and Lahey, L.L. (2001) How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work. San Francisco CA: Jossey-Bass, A Wiley Company.




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