ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Be a Good Team Member

Updated on October 23, 2018
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish is a successful Employment & Training pro setting Midwest regional records with tens of thousands placed to gainful employment.

The Thunderbirds USAF Flight Drill Team
The Thunderbirds USAF Flight Drill Team | Source

Some individuals work best alone, but others are best when at work with others on a team that communicates well, shares ideas, and offers camaraderie. Others have the best of both worlds -- These fortunate people are able to work in both styles during a day on the job!

Good Team Members Are Important

At work, at school, on a committee, or in a club or volunteer organization, you will likely find yourself as a member of a team at some point in time. Work teams are becoming increasingly more popular in the world of work.

In schools, youth are finding more and more assignments given them that must be done as a team project, with all members receiving the same grade, regardless of the individual effort.

What does this all mean, exactly, and how should you contribute to a team?

Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.

— Michael Jordan, NBA star
Click thumbnail to view full-size
A good team often enjoys working together and projects positive energyAn effective team pulls together.
A good team often enjoys working together and projects positive energy
A good team often enjoys working together and projects positive energy | Source
An effective team pulls together.
An effective team pulls together.

You will likely find yourself as a member of a team at some point in time.

A vertical team in the U.S. Government: Executive Office for the United States Trustees.
A vertical team in the U.S. Government: Executive Office for the United States Trustees. | Source

Characteristics of a Teams and Good Team Members

There are different sorts of teams and two types are dominant:

  1. Vertical teams and
  2. Horizontal teams.

The vertical (tall) team is a hierarchy arranged in a pecking order with the boss at the top of the heap.

This is a team in which the upper tiers give the instructions and the lower tiers of employees or participants follow them. Work may not seem like a team effort at the bottom of the hierarchy, but this configuration is indeed a team, because every member of this team is important.

Hopefully, upper tiers listen to the input and ideas of the downline players and major projects are accomplished with good results. One tier of participants out of step can stop the whole production, like a bogged down assembly line.

Roosters Establishing a Pecking Order

The pecking order is, literally, determined by pecking. Bigger, stronger, and more aggressive chickens bully their way to the top of the flock.

— Brian Barth, 3/16/2016 at
A horizontal team: King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table
A horizontal team: King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table | Source

It takes two flints to make a fire.

— Louisa May Alcott, author

The horizontal (flat) team is a team that more people will likely accept, because it is more like King Arthur's Round Table, where everyone had equal status.

This is a group of people on similar levels of status and authority, although supervisors can be on the teams as well as subordinates and outside consultants.

Regardless of the type of team operating at work, it is useful for team members to display and embrace these characteristics:

Integrity and Trust.

If team members are not honest with others and themselves, then the project is doomed. Teams must be thoroughly trustworthy and able to trust others as well. A team leader especially must be able to sense insecurity and ingenuineness. Members and the rteam leader must be dependable and able to discuss topics and issues freely with a mind toward solving problems and delivering an outstanding project result.

A belief, ala Star Trek®, that "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one."

The team effort must come before any team member's own personal or professional agenda in the organiztion or group during the project. Members must commit to people ini general and have a desire to support and serve one another, the organization, and their end customer or client.

Mercury 1 Team
Mercury 1 Team

Respect for Authority.

Team members and the team leader must respect one another. Members must also accept the role of the leader openly and supportively. All should be polite and courteous to customers, clients, and others served by the project as well. There should be no gossip about team members oir the rteam leader withitn the team or outside of it with others. Gossip is ugly and make the gossiper look ugly as well.

Solid Competence.

All projects require certain skills. If team members do not have the required skills, they must be trained or replaced in the business world. Outside of work, it is not useful to volunteer for a team requiring certain skills if one is not qualified to serve and there is not enough time to learn.


Readiness to Share Knowledge and Ideas

Team members should contribute openly, with integrity and take care about others' feelings when communicating. There should be no competition that will destroy the project and no attention-getting behaviors. A team member freely contributes time, energy, and enthusiasm.

Readiness to take personal responsibility for some element of the team's current project.

These folks do not hide within a crowd in order to avoid work. They accept assignments or step forward and ask for them. They will encourage others as well.

Productive Contribution.

Good team members support the team leader with suggestions for and new ideas. This can lead to the leadership being shared later with those that participate more fully.


Teams allow individual skills and giftings to shine and be understood and used. The team leader and the other members want any single member to be energetic and eager to participate in the project at hand.


Follow Through and Delivering One's Commitments.

This person does not call in sick the day before an assignment for the team project is due. Members must commit to the success of the team. If they agree to carry out tasks, then they must do so. If anyone does not, the other members will lose confidence in the slacker.

If there is a problem, then the person who is having difficulty in meeting their assignments must admit it and ask for help before it is too late.

Productive Interpersonal Skills.

Effective communication is vital. Team members must be talented in listening, writing, and oral language skills. Conflict handling and negotiating skills are becoming more and more important in any group.

Welcome Constructive Feedback.

A useful team member asks for and accepts feedback, and readily works for continuous improvement.

Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.

— Helen Keller


  • U.S. National Institute for Literacy. Equipped For the Future.
  • Inglish, P. Teamwork and Cooperation in the Workplace; class series written and taught at Private Industry Council; ©1995 - 2005.

© 2007 Patty Inglish MS


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • betteryou profile image


      9 years ago from London UK

      Thanks for sharing how team members can work together effectively. A very nice hub.

    • profile image

      Lake Ozark Vacation Rentals 

      9 years ago

      Team work is essential these days. Great hub!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      9 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Hi, Ultimate Hubber -- I recall NASA personnel and various management training insitutes' people in news and publications state that one needs to be an effective team member before one can be an effective team leader. I have seen this work in real life this way - the leader is SUCH an effective team member that he/she rises to the top of the pack very quickly for his/her vision and "difference" from the rest. In some instances though, I think such a person is discriminated against for being "too effective." What do you think?

    • Ultimate Hubber profile image

      Ultimate Hubber 

      9 years ago

      Nice article this is. I feel bad about not having read it before. Really a help. Let me confess that I haven't been a good team member but when it comes to leading a team, I am good at it.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      10 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      However, the "Vertical Team" hierarchy is a standard practice and I don't know how to change that across the workplace. I suppose it could work in certain instances, but many workers feel that it's torture at the bottom.

      Thanks for your comments!

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      10 years ago from South Africa

      Intersting Hub - just one thought, that a team is the opposite of a hierarchy. In a team all members have equal status, equal rights of input and equal demands are made of themk. They share accountability and responsibility. In a hierarchy the top dog makes the rules and takes the rap. So I don't think a hierarchy can be a team- they are on opposite ends of a continuum. Otherwise we just dilute the concept of teamwork, which is actually far more demanding than working in a hierarchy. In a hierarchy the person at the top will tell others what to do and they have to get on with it. Of course there can be teams within a hierarchical organisational structure - that is a different matter.

      One of the most popular definitions of a team is "A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they are mutually accountable." (Katzenbach and Smith, 1993). No hierarchy could be held "mutually accountable."

      This dilution of the team concept is what my (much) more famous namesake Douglas McGregor had in mind when he said Most teams aren't teams at all but merely collections of individual relationships with the boss. Each individual vying with the others for power, prestige and position.

      In addition to job- or function-related skills teams demand very high levels of interpersonal skills from their members if they are to be effective and not just remain a group of individuals.

      Thanks for an interesting topic.

      Love and peace


    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      10 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      thanks for the comments, RGraf. I think teams can be very productive and effective. Unfortunately, some managers consider it teamwork when they require one person to do all the work. So, that concept must be changed in the future.

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 

      10 years ago from Wisconsin

      I think that you just wrote the bible on teamwork. I see where very few implement mainly for selfish reasons. This is an excellent piece that I'm going to return and visit a few more and might even print out for future reference.

      Thank you.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      10 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      That's certainly a good example to teach at home. Thanks for the input!

    • gjcody profile image


      10 years ago

      Good hub and great incite ..we need more team effort to get any job done. I have tried to show my grandchildren the results of team effort cleaning up in the evening and setting the table for supper.

      Thanks for putting all of this into a hub best to you!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      10 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Thanks, Debby - teams are great when they are working correctly.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Great hub, Patty. We all need to work as a team to accomplish tasks.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      11 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      I think you are very right, Andy Xie! Some group assignments can be good experiences in many way.

      When I saw the first episodes of the first season of "Survivor" I said, "That's just like a work." and I could not watch more more.

    • Andy Xie profile image

      Andy Xie 

      11 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

      Awesome hub, very thorough. Knowing how to be a good team member, I believe, is one of the most important skills one can learn. I grew up in China, and we were not exposed to these "group projects" at school. But I think working in groups is an important experience for children, which is why I'm glad my daughter has a lot of group assignments, she plays team sports... etc.

      Welcoming constructive feedback (and giving it) for example, is reallly important because it lets you be better at what you do. Sometimes the truth isn't always the most pleasant thing to hear, but it tells you what you can improve on, which is at least a good thing to hear.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      11 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      sri krsna - thanks so much for your insight!

      Kids here in one suburb don't do much in the way of team work other than little league sports at times, but after the 5th grade - BAM! In the 6th grade, they have their own 6th grade building of about 200 kids and they are split into 3 teams and given team colors. Their grades depend in some parts of some subjects on the over all TEAM GRADE! Then in classes, they are put into teams for projects and they all get the same grade per team. Sometimes only one member does all the work because they don't want to fail the assignment. WHEW!

      There must be better ways to teach kids about teamwork!

    • sri krsna profile image

      sri krsna 

      11 years ago from Philippines

      Nice advise for those who are working.... This will serve as a very very good topic for them....

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      11 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      You're exactly right about that I think, john54. Sports that have been cut need to be put back into the schools, for boys an dgirls alike. I remember in elementary school they only taught teamwork to the boys. When I won a running race, I was told it did not count because I was a girl. Sports for all and teamwork training would lift the economy of the nation as well as individual and company success. 

      Thaks for your observations. Always glad to have them!

    • johnr54 profile image

      Joanie Ruppel 

      11 years ago from Texas

      I think one of the big overlooked advantages of sports in school these days is the fact that it puts our young people in an environment that teaches them about being a part of a team.

      This skill is critical in so many environments, and it seems to be lacking so much of the time.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      11 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Hi SweetiePie, maybe they could. Perhaps teachers have curriculum teams in the schools and other types of teams as well. That might be very useful.

    • SweetiePie profile image


      11 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Great hub on team work and very important for educators too. I think new teachers could get some good ideas from reading your hub.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      11 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Thanks for the comments!

    • ROB AND STEPHANIE profile image


      11 years ago from Higfhland Park

      hey there its nice reading about your site! please sign up for my fan club too.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)