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Every project’s success depends on the team that is undertaking it, no matter how skilled someone is as a project manager, without a good team around them, the project will struggle and quite possibly fail. As a project manager, knowing what makes an effective team member is a core skill that can define their career.

An effective team member is not just one who contributes the work they have been asked to do but someone who can make the team better than the sum of its parts, either by contributing creatively to problem solving, having the interest and insight to assist with identifying risk or just bringing a positive attitude and energy which rubs off on others.

If you’re unsure what makes an effective team member and what the signs are that someone is or isn’t, we’ve put together some tips to help you get better with your team-building.

Understanding what’s expected of them

There is a big difference between reading or hearing words and actually understanding what they mean. An effective team member is someone who has the dedication necessary to fully comprehend their role, both what’s written on the page and between the lines. This saves a lot of energy from situations where communication is blamed for mistakes, for example, if a design editor claimed they shouldn’t have to check spellings on a poster’s headline before going to print as their remit only said: “Review the image”.

Willingness to accept feedback

Nobody is perfect yet very few people want others to ever tell them that. Constructive criticism on points where one can improve can really help someone’s career, yet many decide to focus on the personal aspect or why their manager was wrong. An effective team member will be happy for feedback and seek it out.

Embraces a challenge

The comfort zone is so-called as everything is easier to do and causes less stress. Unfortunately, progress and change means that we get shunted out of this zone and thrust into situations that can be quite a lot more difficult. What a project manager needs is someone that’s going to put their hand up, lead by example and embrace whatever challenge may come.

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Taking responsibility

Passing the buck can become almost like an office sport at times and the main problem with it is that nothing ever gets solved. To get to the root of an issue that is occurring it’s vital to know how it came about in the first place, which is a lot easier to get from the person who caused it. Thus, taking responsibility makes a project more efficient and effective at solving problems and moving forward.

Comfortable with collaboration

Being part of a team inherently means collaborating with others. While everybody doesn’t have to be best friends, good team players will be those who can put personal issues aside for the betterment of the project as a whole.

Following through on commitments

An effective team member must be dependable, if they say something will get done, you know that it will get done if it’s possible. There can of course be issues and problems that can’t be avoided but it gives a huge sense of relief to a project manager when they know a team member can be depended on to give everything to an assignment rather than searching for excuses or an easy way out.

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