In our careers, we will work with a lot of “green” resources – those individuals who may not have the experience or knowledge that a more senior person may have. There are, however, specific things that anyone can do to help their teams, regardless of skill or experience.
Prepare for Meetings
Nothing shows through quicker than someone who is unprepared for a meeting. Showing up and asking questions that everyone else already has the answer to or not having the easy answer that early preparation would have allowed you to answer is a sure-fire way to erode the confidence of your team members. Even if you have zero knowledge of the topic being discussed (you likely won’t be called on to answer many questions), it takes even less knowledge to adequately prepare. Read, ask relevant questions, research. Anything you can do to possibly help contribute to the conversation. And it takes no knowledge or experience to prepare effectively.
Those who can effectively practice active listening are those who take the most away from team and client meetings. I’ve been in meetings where people who are paid handsomely to understand client requirements insist on interrupting and imposing their own viewpoint rather than listening to the needs and trying to understand the viewpoint. Active listening is so easy yet so rarely practiced. It takes very little knowledge or experience but it does require a mindset of wanting to understand. Making a conscious decision to understand before responding does require a certain discipline but it is something anyone can do, regardless of experience, skill level or knowledge.
Ask For and Give Help
Everyone will need help on your team at some point. Everyone also owes it to the team to do their best to solve their own problems but everyone also owes it to their team to reach out when they are struggling and ask for help. If one struggles, the team struggles. It is a bit of a balancing act and nobody wants to be viewed as the person who is constantly asking for help however the individuals owe it to the team to make sure they are as effective and efficient as possible and sometimes that means asking for help to solve a problem. The same can be said with the mirror image situation – when a team member is asking for help it’s because they need it. This is yet another area where skill level, experience have zero to do with someone’s ability to ask for or provide help to a team member.
Being a good team member is not difficult, yet it is so valuable. The strength of a team comes from its individuals but also those individuals’ ability to work together. Every team will have less skilled individuals but there’s no reason that each and every team member can’t do these three things that makes them a better team member.