Effective teammates are self-aware. By being perceptive about your own strengths and weaknesses, you have clarity about what you bring to the team. It also forces you to consider the ways you're contributing to the team's effort—both positively and negatively.
- Understanding yourself is fundamental to understanding others and working well within a team. Self-awareness can be tricky, so make sure you look for multiple data points to help you assess your contributions as a teammate. To start, you can conduct a SWOT analysis of yourself as a teammate. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. You can take notes on each of these categories as I discuss them, pause the video to give yourself some time to think this through.
Starting with strengths, what are the skills, competencies, and experiences you bring to the team's effort? This analysis is for your own growth and development, so be honest in your self-reflection. You were placed on this team for a reason, you have something important to contribute to the overall effort, and it helps to recognize your strengths. Once you've listed your strengths, consider your weaknesses, what are the qualities or habits that don't help your team advance its mission? We all have weaknesses, so there's no shame in privately thinking through yours.
An article in the Harvard Business Review found that leaders are typically aware of their strengths, but not nearly as perceptive of their weaknesses. We all have blind spots, regularly seek feedback on what your weaknesses might be. Your weaknesses should be tied to some of the opportunities you'll identify to consider. Think about your personal OFIs, or opportunities for improvement. What do you need to learn, or what skills can you develop to be a stronger contributor to your team? Finally, what threats exist for you as a teammate? When using a SWOT analysis for an individual contributor on a team, I think of threats as anything that can get in the way of you performing at an optimal level.
An example might be not having as much time to work on a team assignment as you'd like. If you've been critical in conducting an individual SWOT analysis of yourself as a teammate, you can see what you're contributing to your team's effort. Are you happy with the results? If not, create an action plan for what you'll do to address your personal OFIs. As you develop in these areas, expect that you may make some mistakes along the way. Learn from them and then move on, don't dwell on things you can't change, use each lesson as a chance to grow into a better version of yourself, and a better teammate.
Store your personal SWOT analysis somewhere private, refer back to it from time to time to see what's changed. If you have a trusted mentor or advisor, consider sharing your thoughts, and get some additional feedback that you can include. Effective teammates are strategically self-aware. By being perceptive about your own strengths and weaknesses, you'll have more clarity about what you bring to your team.
- List benefits of putting your team’s needs before your own.
- Name the qualities of a teammate who is considered to be reliable.
- Explain what it means to be proactive.
- Recognize the importance of adjusting to the collaborative decision of the team.
- Recall the attributes displayed by a strategically focused team member.