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I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes successful strategic partnerships and how we all can contribute to a positive outcome. Clearly the success of the team depends on the ability of its members to work well together, but what makes a good team player? And how does that translate into being a good business partner?
In my experience, and according to some of the experts, there is no one way to be a good team player, but many of the strongest partners in business share some of these characteristics, whether you are in a leadership role or are an individual contributor:
According to a study by the Harvard Business Review surveying 195 leaders in 15 countries and 30 global organizations, a leader’s ability to provide goals and objectives was one of the top qualities he or she could have. And more than 50,000 evaluations revealed that the most powerful differentiator of top individual players was the ability to set and meet goals that were higher than some thought possible. When leaders and team members all have high standards set for themselves, it is often evident in the way they encourage others around them to seek to achieve exceptional results, from leader to employees and among the employees themselves. Even when it is not always possible to exceed these goals, the extra effort to try is a behavior that demonstrates what you are willing to do and how hard you are willing to work to do big things.
It’s one thing to have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish in your head, but you need to also be able to explain it to your team effectively, so that they can take it on as their own. Take opportunities to reiterate the unifying goal and make sure you are available to clarify any issues. By making sure you are accessible to your employees, you are making your visions accessible, too. Communicating with your teams and at length about your goals in specific will open up greater opportunities to achieve them
The ability to work together to build on each other’s ideas and strategies is at the crux of how to be a good team player in business. A shared purpose is one of the biggest drivers of collaboration, when big things can be accomplished in the face of great necessity, and with a communal focus.
While some of the most successful individuals may strive to work independently, it’s important to remember that by leveraging its best contributors, an organization can create more value by working together than any one person can deliver working outside the company on their own. Your value as a leader and partner in business can be amplified when connected to the strategic minds of partners.
Should you and your partners not feel supported by each other, it can be hard to have the confidence to own your role and take the necessary risks. Be sure that you are motivating each other and backing each other’s’ visions and ideas, so that each of you can have the freedom to be inspired and be innovative. A strong support system is integral to anyone who wants to take chances and pursue possibilities, and then there are all the more people to celebrate the results.
Often having good judgment means relying more on external information than just your own instincts. When making a decision regarding a technical issue, feasibility of a proposal, or the solution to a problem, the best business leaders are open to the input of many different voices, and are willing to take time and carefully consider all possible answers and their potential consequences. With the ability to discern when your own experiences matter less in a certain setting, comes the true good judgment.
Giving feedback to peers, especially when done thoughtfully and with everyone’s best interest in mind, can be valuable for the person as well as for the business. Raise questions that a fellow business leader may not have considered or express appreciation for something your colleague did well. The best partners in business can give each other feedback that is not conveyed as criticism, but genuinely, as a way to help each other grow.
It’s never been more important to work together, on a personal, business, national, and global level. These are only some of the ways we can begin to work toward being the best partners and team members that we can be, and how we can continue to strive towards a better world, from the inside out.
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