Tag Archives: champion

Be A Teamwork Champion

teamworkIn a few days, the top two teams in professional football take the field to determine who will become Super Bowl champions. It’s the ultimate team endeavor. Each side consists of as many as 200 people: players, coaching staff, and support personnel, each with a specific duty. All play a part in determining whether the game will end in victory or defeat, from the star quarterback who leads the players on the field, to the equipment manager who decides what type of cleats to attach to the player’s shoes. The pressure and level of scrutiny is beyond intense, with millions of people judging every play, every action, and every decision made both on the field and on the sidelines.

You’ve probably been part of a team at some point in your work career. And while your team may not be as widely analyzed as a pro sports team, the outcome can be every bit as important. How you execute your role and how you interact with your team will affect your success and your future. It’s no small task to navigate the complexities of diverse personalities, each with unique skills and different levels of commitment to the goal. Whether or not you’re a sports fan, there are lessons from the gridiron on being a great team player that you can adapt to the workplace.

Know Your Role

It’s important to understand your role on the team, so you know what is expected of you. It’s also important to know the responsibilities of the other team members and how you will interact with them to meet your goal. Once you understand your role, commit to it. If you’re unsure of your role or responsibility, ask your team leader for clarification. As you undertake your responsibilities, don’t assume everyone knows what you know. One of the keys to team success is communication. So share your knowledge and expertise, but at the same time be receptive to the ideas and experience of others.

Be Ready to Step Up

You may be called upon to assume more responsibility if the team dynamic changes, for example, if someone leaves or gets promoted. You’ll set yourself up for failure if you just sit on the sidelines, not paying attention or staying up to date on the project. If you’re unprepared, and the need arises for someone to step in and assume greater responsibilities, you’ll either be passed over for a colleague who’s more prepared or you’ll step in the new role and be quickly betrayed by your lack of preparation. So stay informed and be ready. You don’t have to know everything, just enough to hit the ground running when your number is called.

Don’t Expect Equal Participation

Participation and effort in a team situation will never be equally balanced between all members.  Some will be called on to contribute more due to their experience and knowledge. If you feel someone isn’t pulling their weight, it may be due to a lack of experience or knowledge about the objective. They may lack confidence in their ability. Or a team member may not be engaged in the effort. Don’t waste energy worrying about who’s not doing their fair share of the work. Focus on your responsibilities first. If you believe you can take on additional duties, or help someone who seems to be struggling, approach your team leader and offer to help.

Respect is Earned

You may feel qualified to take on greater responsibility, but don’t get the opportunity or recognition you deserve. If you’re a new or untested employee, you have to demonstrate that you have both the ability and the disposition to lead. And that takes time. You’ll earn respect by being reliable, eager, positive, and encouraging. One of the most effective ways to gain respect is to give it. Show respect to people and their opinions.

Put the Team Ahead of Personality Issues

You don’t have to be best friends with everyone on the team. But you do have to work together amicably. In the event of a personality clash, do your best to separate the person from their perspective. Don’t be quick to dismiss an idea just because you don’t see eye to eye with someone. If you believe a teammate is sabotaging the effort, don’t call them out. Bring up the matter with your team leader in private. Be aware that how you present your concerns will say a lot to your leader about how you deal with conflict. Focus on the issue, not the personality.

What qualities come to mind when you imagine a great team member? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.


March Madness: How to Beat the Competition

march_madness_webIf you’re a basketball fan, March is the month for you. March Madness is filled with all your favorite college basketball teams competing to win top bragging rights. It’s a fun time of year, but these teams have put in a lot of hard work to make it to this point. In many ways, March Madness can apply to your job search. Check out these top tips to score a three pointer before the buzzer and beat the competition during your next interview.

1. Have a vision.
What do you want to do in your career? What are your skills and talents? What excites you most about getting up in the morning? Without having a vision for your job search, you won’t know where you are going. Instead of taking a broad approach when it comes to applying for jobs, narrow your search to just those industries and opportunities where you really want to work. Doing so will energize you, make you more productive in the application process, and allow you to speak more directly to why you’re the best for the job.

2. Do your homework.
Before your next interview, make sure you take time to research the company, the position you’ve applied for, and those who will be interviewing you. When you take the time to prepare, you have a wealth of knowledge to use to your advantage. Sadly, job candidates often don’t take the time to do their homework in advance and are ill prepared to answer some of the questions they’re presented, such as talking about what the company does or the duties associated with the job opportunity. Doing a little prep work beforehand automatically gives you an advantage.

3. Condition yourself.
Just like a great athlete, you’ve got to work on your own skills and abilities. In the job search game, your resume is what gets you in the door for an interview. What does your resume currently look like? What does it reflect about you? Before you apply for that next job, update your resume so it’s more targeted to the job. Make sure it shows how your talents match the job. Also, update your cover letter and make sure you always include it with an application. Again, customize this to the job, speaking directly to how you can perform the duties listed in the job description.

4. Find a coach you trust.
In March Madness, coaching is everything. A coach provides direction and leadership to the players, helping them learn where they need to make improvements, make a change, or understand they’ve done a great job. It’s important for you to find a mentor who can do this for you too. Find someone who has experience in your industry of interest and allow them to review your resume and cover letter, conduct a mock interview for you, offer tips and suggestions to ace your big day, etc. No matter what stage you’re at in your career, it’s always important to have a mentor.

5. Be selfless.
It’s not a bad thing to pursue a job opportunity for the impact it can have on your career, income, and overall happiness. But, it’s important those desires don’t overshadow what you can do for a company. Potential employers want to know what you can do for them, not necessarily what they can do for you. They want to ensure you’re not going to be a flight risk, can complete your tasks on time, be a team player, and help advance their business in new ways while finding ways to save money. At your next interview, if you really want to impress the interviewer, let them know how you can add to their team.

These are just a few lessons from March Madness that can help you get a slam dunk in your professional life. Do you have any other suggestions? Let us know in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Do You Have What It Takes to Play On A Championship Team?

super_bowl_2015_webExcitement is growing each day as we get closer and closer to the kickoff of the big game. Friends are planning parties and fans are picking sides. And in the spirit of one of the world’s largest sporting events – it’s time to put your game face on and attack your job search. Here are five tips to help you become a champion in the job search competition.

Develop a Game Plan
Research companies you would like to work for and develop a plan of action to be part of their team. The most obvious search would be the company’s website to see if the company culture aligns with your values. Consider asking friends who might work at the company or individuals you might know through professional networking organizations. Execute your plan daily with determination, drive, and passion.

Fundamentals are Key
In football and in life, fundamentals are key. You need to practice your skills to make sure you are sharp and ready for any assignment. If you are just entering the workforce and don’t have the experience yet, consider volunteering with a nonprofit to gain some valuable skills like organization, time management, and team building. Or, if you are in the workforce and are looking for a change, you may need to think about career technical school or night school to acquire a new set of skills.

Outplay Your Competition
After you’ve practiced, sharpened your skills, and executed your plan, you’re set to outplay your competition. Here are some suggestions that can set you apart from the competition: dress appropriately for the interview, know what employers may ask in an interview, and be on time. Once you have an interview, make sure you follow up with a thank-you note to the interviewer.

Go Long
It’s 4th down and inches and you are faced with a choice: do you go for it or punt. If you are willing to take a risk on a new job opportunity, but still have questions, it’s okay to ask the interviewer questions. You may consider asking what does a normal workday for this position look like or what is the biggest challenge someone in this position typically faces.

Leave Everything on the Field
You’ve prepared for that dream job and got an offer, now what do you do? Make sure you are on time for work and for meetings, work hard to hit your deadlines, and contribute solutions to projects at hand. Above all, work hard and celebrate with your new championship team.

What are some ways that you attacked your job search with a game plan and landed on the championship team? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.