Become a better team player
Help your entire team through actions and character.
4 min read
I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be a good team player, especially in software engineering.
I'm always looking for ways to improve, but I wanted to share some things I'm doing to help my team in multiple aspects.
I work remotely, so it is quite different from working in the office.
Another thing to point out, if you want to change the environment around you, you need to begin with yourself and inspire others through your actions and character.
Saying good morning in Slack sounds like a minor thing but I think it helps improve the human connection on the team. It makes it seem and feel like you're there, greeting your team in the morning and wishing them a nice day/week.
You can even share something and start a nice morning discussion.
If someone is sick, message them and tell them to rest. Wish that they get well soon and that it is not anything serious.
It is also good to step up, understanding that their work is the team's work, so you can ask them if they need help with anything and that you're more than happy to help and drive things forward.
This is about understanding that their work is the team's work, same with your work.
Sharing is caring
Share what you learn. Share articles you've written or read that you think will be beneficial for the team. Share mistakes you have done, so the entire team can learn from them.
Encouraging and fostering a culture of learning where we share mistakes and things we learn will lead to everyone on the team constantly increasing their knowledge.
Sharing knowledge is caring, indeed. It also helps increase the bus factor of the team.
Whenever someone has helped you with something, even a minor thing, say thanks. Saying thanks shows that you appreciate their work.
For some, this might sound obvious, but there are many out there that rarely say thanks, they will ask for something and respond with i.e. "Great, it worked." or whatever else.
Compliment your teammates whenever they do something good. Praise them in public. Complimenting your teammates makes them happy.
It also shows that you aren't full of yourself, you are willing to give credit and lift others, that's a great quality to have and something many don't.
Many are afraid to compliment others because they are too focused on lifting themselves, and not the people around them.
But in fact, lifting the people around you also lifts yourself. Not just show you're a great teammate, but you will inspire others to compliment you or others on the team as well.
As it says, be respectful. Even when you disagree with things or misunderstood someone, always remain respectful.
Being respectful also means respecting peoples' boundaries and not trying to push or force something because of your benefit.
Being disrespectful is out of the line. We're a team first and foremost, and being disrespectful is the first step to killing the team's spirit.
Support the team
Look for opportunities to help your teammates and support them.
One thing I enjoy doing is going through the existing PRs we have in place first thing in the morning and seeing if I can help somewhere. It is also a great moment to learn for me or to help and educate someone else.
You can also publicly mention that if anyone needs anything you're more than happy to help and looking forward to it.
If you did something wrong, say sorry. Saying sorry is not a sign of weakness but one of strength
Don't talk ill or make fun of others
Don't backbite. Don't talk ill about others with someone else. If you're doing it outside work, that is up to you. Backbiting is something jerks do. One thing is for sure, if a person backbites someone else, you can be damn sure they are backbiting you.