No matter how helpful most people believe they are, Stack reminds her readers that every once in a while, it’s important to review one’s own workplace productivity through the eyes of their coworkers.
“Never forget, your work represents part of a group effort that requires everyone involved to pull in the same direction,” Stack says. “You may very well pull harder than anyone else on the team, but if you pull the wrong way you’re hurting, not helping.”
For those who can’t determine their productivity status at a glance for themselves, Stack suggests contemplating seven questions and answering them truthfully.
First, Stack suggests readers ask themselves, “How much do I really get done each day?”
“Being busy doesn’t necessarily translate to being productive,”
Second, Stack suggests readers ask themselves, “Do my productivity goals align with my team’s goals?” The idea is for the individual to understand better whether they’re spending their time solving the right problems and moving the team forward.
“If you can’t remember your team goals or never bothered to learn them, then you’ve probably drifted off the beam,” she says.
Third, Stack encourages readers to ask themselves, “Do I complete my work promptly and efficiently?”
Although the answers may be unsettling, they’re meant to arm workers with the insight necessary to make improvements in their performance before they drift too far from the team’s goals.
In fact, Stack suggests coming right out and asking oneself, “Am I a team player?” instead of avoiding the question.
“We Americans pride ourselves on our rugged individualism,”
Next, Stack has readers ask themselves, “Do I support my teammates when they need help?” The goal is for workers to determine for themselves if they are the coworker who is likely to pitch in and assist when someone needs help, even if it’s “not their job.” Or are they there to help only in waves, when the mood to be helpful strikes, or there’s no way to get out of helping without looking bad? Or, Stack suggests readers determine if they tend to isolate themselves and ignore problems elsewhere in the team structure.
By asking these questions and answering them honestly, Stack says the goal is to identify areas that could be improved upon. By making oneself a more dependable part of the team, workers increase their opportunities for personal success.
Stack also encourages readers to ask themselves, “Do I accept direction well? Can I accept instructions or recommendations on how to approach a task, or do I go my own way, not caring whether or not that weakens the overall team effort?”
The answers may be very enlightening, Stack says, as most workers don’t see themselves as their coworkers see them. Coworkers may have a negative opinion of certain team members, who don’t even realize they are anything less than a valuable asset.
Finally, Stack suggests readers ask, “Am I committed to a productive workflow process? Do I constantly look for ways to improve a process and my contributions to it?”
“Being a team player means you try to maximize your team’s workplace productivity,”
Stack also encourages readers to add their own questions to the self-examination outlined in her blog, while reminding them to occasionally ask themselves whether they’ve been doing their productive best for the team lately.
“If you can honestly say you’ve been working to the best of your ability, then keep up the good work,” Stack says. “If not, consult your supervisor to determine what he or she thinks you need to work on.
“I realize you may not want to do this, for fear of what you might discover, but your teammates count on your contributions for the greater collective effort. You can’t let them down—or you may not have a collective effort to contribute to for much longer.”
For more information on being a team player, visit TheProductivityPro.com website, Email Laura@TheProductivityPro.com, or call 303-471-7401.
About Laura Stack:
Laura Stack is a time management and productivity expert who has been speaking and writing about human potential and peak performance since 1992. She has implemented employee productivity improvement programs at Wal-Mart, Cisco Systems, UBS, Aramark, and Bank of America. Stack presents keynotes and seminars internationally for leaders, entrepreneurs, salespeople, and professional services firms on improving output, lowering stress, and saving time in the workplace.
The president of The Productivity Pro®, Inc., a time management firm specializing in high-stress environments, Stack is the bestselling author of five books: “What to do When There’s Too Much to do” (2012); “SuperCompetent”