A lot of my work involves being part of a team. As a seasoned skeptic and long time solo contributor, my career goal for the fall is to be a better, more effective teammate. Here’s what it will take.
Accept Responsibility. Basically I have to care about the team and its members. Then I have to realize that my success depends on our success, which, in my case, requires an ego adjustment. I have to show up, pay attention and care about the assignment. I have to draw on my time, my resources and my network in service to team objectives.
Listen. Every team has a blowhard, a bossy pants, and a space cadet. They are usually hard to put up with, much less, actively listen to. But to succeed I have to respect each person, hear them out, cull the best ideas and divide the labor efficiently. This starts with listening, no matter how painful it might be.
Be Supportive. There’s always someone who needs help or who doesn’t have the brains, energy or confidence to do their part. Rather than harassing them or making fun of them (my usual approach) I need to support, defend, and help them rather than wait for them to stumble or fail. I can often see this train wreck coming so I need to actively intervene and proactively reach out and help those in desperate need.
Focus. Too often a team becomes group therapy where members unburden themselves, gossip, and generally waste a lot of time. I need to focus on the prize, take assignments seriously, and deliver on-time and on-budget. This requires individual and collective focus and a willingness to reduce banter and optimize productivity. It means I have to help keep the team on-track, aligned and attentive to the tasks at hand and the project timeline.
Being a better teammate will be a stretch for me. It will try my patience and put me way out of my usual comfort zone. It will cut across my longstanding beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes. But if you don’t set stretch goals, you never get anywhere.
Danny Flamberg, EVP Managing Director of Digital Strategy and CRM at Publicis based in New York, has been building brands and building businesses for more than 30 years.Prior to joining Publicis, he led a successful global consulting group called Booster Rocket, as Managing Partner. Before becoming a consultant, he was Vice President of Global Marketing at SAP, SVP and Managing Director at Digitas in New York and Europe and President of Relationship Marketing at Amiratti Puris Lintas and Lowe Worldwide.
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