The Qualities of a True Team Player

New jobs are intimidating. You want to put your best foot forward and prove that the company made a good decision when they hired you.

But you are suddenly surrounded by people you don’t know, a new environment, and assignments that seem like a foreign language. What do you do?

The best thing you can do is be a team player. Bosses can spot a true team player from a mile away and love when workers know how to use their talents to benefit the team.

So, what exactly are the traits of a team player?

Page Contents



Something that cannot be understated is the importance of kindness. When the pressure is on, and a deadline is due, kindness can easily take the back seat. But a true team player will always treat people well.

When you treat someone well, they will put forward their best work. Creating a positive work environment with kindness benefits everybody.

Toxic work environments create low-quality work. If people feel accepted and loved at work, they will be excited to come in every day.


Things change. The only constant in life is change. This can be especially true at work, and especially true if it is a new career – see here for more. Everything will be different than what you are used to. Your bosses, coworkers, and assignments will all be different.

When a project shifts course halfway through, a true team player will take it in stride and adapt quickly. They will understand the change and bring others up to speed on what the new assignment is.

Another example is if they are suddenly assigned a new partner, they will be eager to work with someone new.



Something unique that every person brings to a new job is their knowledge. Everybody knows different things. But knowledge is being able to implement what you know.

Team players share their knowledge. They understand that if they know something others do not, it is their job to share what they know. As a result, team players can often be found walking their coworkers through concepts or assignments without being told to do so.

Team players will also be ready to soak up the new knowledge around them and then apply it to the task at hand. They are always prepared to learn something new.


Life happens. Sometimes deadlines are not met. Sometimes your project partner is out sick. Or, you underestimate how long a task will take, and your time management is off.

A true team player understands when these things happen. They will never blame others for having shortcomings. Team players know that it is impossible to be perfect all the time. Life would be incredibly dull if everyone were always perfect.

The sign of a true team player is when they take something bad that happens and turn it into a positive.

Missed deadline? That gives the team more time to brainstorm.

Is their partner out sick? Then, they are going to put their head down and focus.



True team players are committed to getting things done right and on time.

They are also committed to being a good coworker. They take on extra work and always lend a helping hand. Team players commit to making the workplace a positive experience for everyone. You

can find them sitting with the person who usually sits alone at lunch.


True team players are entirely engaged in the task at hand. They are asking questions and taking notes. They never glance at their phone, except to Google something relevant. Maybe they play with a stress ball or doodle to help themselves stay focused.

If you want to stand out, be completely engaged in all your work. Do not just do the work because you must. Do it because you want to do it well and throw yourself into it. The more immersed you are in your work, the better your results will be.



It is so important to have reliable people on your team. Every boss has that one person they can count on to get something done quickly, always show up on time, and hand things in when they are due. You want to be that person.

Team players are like rocks. Everyone knows they can go to the team player if they have hit a wall. You want to prove that you are consistent and dedicated.
The more reliable you are, the more exciting your projects will be.

Active Listening

Team players will never nod their heads as if they understand something when they do not. Instead, they are always asking questions if they need more clarification on a topic.

Talking one-on-one with a true team player feels incredible. They are very good at active listening, which means they use skills to listen closely to you and show you that they are listening. They may repeat back to you what you are saying to show that they understand. They might nod and make eye contact. Or maybe they will lean in a little bit.

These little things show that they are paying attention and care about what you have to say.



The number one key to success in life is communication. A true team player will have excellent communication skills. This will help with all aspects of the job.
You can spot a true team player because they will be able to explain things well and succinctly. They can smooth over problems that may arise between coworkers. Furthermore, they can express issues to the boss in a productive way. In fact, mastering effective communication is such a valuable skill that it’s often emphasized in TED speaker training courses by and others. A true team player not only excels in conveying ideas but also listens actively, fostering a collaborative and harmonious work environment.


True team players are beneficial. They go out of their way to ensure everybody’s needs are met (and somehow have their work done too).

If they see someone struggling with a task, they will see if they can help. If someone is always handing work in late, they will offer to help with time management, like setting up a system of lists or alarms. If someone must leave early to pick up their kids every day, the true team player will be able to cover their work for them.



Team players know when to talk and when to listen. When they are listening, they do not talk over people or interrupt.

When they talk, they do not take up the floor for hours. Instead, they say what needs to be said and don’t take over the conversation.

The most important part of respect is giving it to everybody. Whether you are below, above, or horizontal to the team player in the chain of command, you will still get the same amount of respect.

This is because team players do not look down on anyone.


A true team player takes critique very well because they want to be better. They don’t view criticism as a bad thing. They view it as an opportunity to learn and grow. They will never give an attitude when receiving feedback. They will even ask for it!

Likewise, team players will own up to their mistakes. They will not blame others or try to hide the fact that they did something wrong. Instead, they will tell you when they mess up and take responsibility for fixing it.

Final Thoughts

The best way to stand out at a new job is to be a true team player. While you may know the phrase “taking one for the team,” being a true team player is about a lot more than that.

True team players are fantastic to work with. They are kind, understanding, and great communicators. They will help you out when you need it, even if you do not ask for it.

They are always looking for feedback and want to grow into the best employee possible while bringing the rest of the team up with them.

So instead of trying to shine by outdoing everyone, try to shine by working with everyone. Then, you will surely catch your boss’s attention.