Learning how to be a good teammate is critical for success in any team environment, whether on the field or in the office. When most people think of building a better and more high-performing team, their focus is often on impacting the team as a whole rather than on each team member striving to become a better teammate. While both are important, great teams are comprised of individuals who are passionately committed to becoming a great teammate rather than focusing solely on their own interests.

Certain habits and daily behaviors that can help build trust, communication, and collaboration are essential to successful teamwork.

How to Be a Good Teammate: 4 Steps

Here are four practices you can implement immediately on how to be a good teammate.

Show Respect and Empathy Towards Others

Common sense isn’t always common practice. Respect and empathy for others is one of the most important habits of highly effective teammates. This entails treating your teammates with consideration, understanding, and kindness. It also entails actively listening to their ideas and concerns, as well as being willing to compromise and collaborate to find solutions. Teammates who feel respected and valued are more likely to trust and support one another, resulting in improved teamwork and overall success.

One of the best ways to demonstrate a high level of respect and empathy for team members is to constantly remind yourself that every member of your team is fighting a battle that you are unaware of. Learning how to be a good teammate is heavily influenced by one’s emotional intelligence.

Support and Encourage Your Teammates

Another key habit of highly effective teammates is to support and encourage your teammates. This includes recognizing their accomplishments, offering assistance when needed, and providing constructive feedback in a supportive manner. By demonstrating to your teammates that you are invested in their success, you can help to foster a strong sense of camaraderie and motivation within the team.

Acknowledge the positive actions of team members. The best teammates I have ever had went above and beyond to notice and acknowledge the little things that team members did. Little things can lead to big breakthroughs, especially when it comes to building a more connected team.

Communicate Effectively

Highly effective team members consistently practice effective communication. This includes actively listening to your teammates, clearly and respectfully expressing your ideas, and being open to feedback. It also entails being aware of nonverbal communication, such as body language and tone of voice, and effectively using it to convey your message. You can avoid misunderstandings and build trust and respect within the team by communicating effectively.

When communication breaks down, performance and other factors suffer. Many of the difficulties and roadblocks that many teams face can be traced back to a failure to communicate effectively.

Be Reliable and Accountable

Highly effective teammates are dependable and accountable. This includes being on time, meeting deadlines, and following through on commitments. It also requires accepting responsibility for mistakes and working diligently to correct them. When teammates can rely on each other to do what they say they will do, trust is built and the team’s overall performance enhances.

Learning How to Be a Good Teammate Is Imperative

Learning how to be a good teammate begins with making the firm decision to put the team first and recognizing that when the team wins, everyone wins. If you succeed while the team struggles, it may temporarily boost your ego and make you feel good, but it is not a sustainable strategy. Focusing on how to be a good teammate is the starting point in building a successful team.