Welcome to the last post in our series on #CareerReady skills.  These are professional development skills that most 21st century jobs require. Today, we’re focused on what it means to be an effective team member.

You’ll often see “team player” listed as one of many desired traits in a job description. It’s probably one of the most-used and least-understood terms. Sure, being part of a team means getting things done together which sounds like it should be easy, however teamwork is not without its challenges.

But fear not! There are tangible things you can do to be a great team member — someone that people enjoy working with and that helps the team become more effective.

How Does Being a Good Team Member Relate to Coding?

Unless you’re a freelancer working on solo gigs, most programmer jobs today require that you work in a team. To top it off, your team will probably be diverse in every sense of the word: cross-functional, cross-generational and with people of various backgrounds. You and your team members will be held accountable as a team to build and roll out products and services.  As a coder, you might be building the actual web application, but you’ll need to work with the product manager, the marketing coordinator, the graphics designer and others to build the right product. And to work in such a team, you’ll need to hone up on your teamwork skills!

Five Strategies to Level Up on Your Team Member Skills:

1. Know your worth: Know that you are of immense value to the team, even if you play a small part on a project. Think of a car — some of the smallest parts of a car are integral to how the entire thing functions. You can’t always be the assigned leader and that is OK. Whatever your role ends up being on a project, carry it out well.

2. Listen first. And then listen some more. And then listen again. And if necessary, speak. This doesn’t mean you don’t speak up at all (especially if someone is being disrespectful). It means that you really listen intently for what the other person is saying. Think about it from them point of view, especially if you disagree.

3. Sharing is caring. Share your knowledge with your team. This one can be tough for some people, because information is power, but contrary to what you might think, sharing your knowledge with others will actually motivate others to do the same. And you’ll end up learning new things you never would if you’re a hoarder of information.

4. Humility is a virtue. Be humble enough to say you don’t know something when you don’t and ask for help. This is probably the hardest for most of us and for good reason — we always want to show our best selves to the world. Fear not, you will only gain respect by acknowledging what you don’t know. What’s more important is that you acknowledge it and do something about it.

5. Speak up early and often. A team that communicates well with each other usually ends up producing better products or services (there are exceptions). So, do your part and communicate early and often with your team. Ask for their opinion on something you’re working on, facilitate a brainstorming session with them, keep them informed of impending risks, share any dependencies and so on.

The Takeaway

At its core, being a good team member is about two things: doing your best in your assigned role and communicating effectively with your team members. Remember, a team that communicates with each other, respects each other and motivates each other usually ends up creating the best product or service.

And finally, we want to hear from you!

Tweet @SPICEDacademy using the hashtag #CareerReady and tell us how you’re teaching yourself #CareerReady skills or how you’re already applying them in your everyday life!

If you’re interested in learning how to code in a great city, explore SPICED Academy in Berlin today!

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