What Do They Mean When They Say…

You’re Not A Team Player

Part 2 in a Series

Not being a team player can be a stinging criticism. I don’t hear this one too often, however, it is sometimes a misperception if the person works in the background or behind the scenes where the contribution they make to the team is not apparent. But usually this critique is based in one of three occurrences:

1. You work in a silo

2. You don’t

a. Cooperate or collaborate well
b. Delegate effectively
c. Share information in a timely manner

3. You’ve been known to throw people under the bus

Scenarios one and two are reversible. Number three, not so much and is a whole other conversation.

How does one reverse the stigma of not being a team player?  It will take a little bit of work but it’s doable provided there is no irreversible damage to your personal brand.

Let’s begin with determining how legitimate is the claim that you are not a team player?
Is it based on observation or specific incidents and/or complaints? This is important because it will inform the course of action you take to improve that aspect of your evaluation and reputation.

My experience has been that when people work in a silo, it suggests one of two things, neither of which is constructive to a positive career trajectory.

1. people work in a silo either because they believe they are the smartest people in the room, or
2. they are woefully insecure and don’t want anyone to learn what they don’t know.

Not Being A Team Player is a Dead End Designation

Not Being A Team Player is a Dead End Designation

If you work in a silo what is it that you hope to achieve by keeping to yourself?
When you don’t extend yourself to cooperate or collaborate, you have deprived yourself of key opportunities to market your thinking and capability internally.

If you are the smartest person in the room, then you’re in the wrong room. You can’t learn or be stretched out of your comfort zone. But rarely are the people who think they are the smartest people in the room, actually the smartest people in the room.

However, if by chance you are, it is an excellent opportunity to lead and share not gloat and hoard.

If you work in a silo because you harbor some insecurity about your capabilities, then commit yourself to becoming a student of your craft. Decide what you want to be known for within your organization and then lay out a strategy for accomplishing that. It’s nice when a company assists with professional development, but the commitment to stockholders has far more influence. Therefore your professional development must be designed, implemented and managed by you for the most part.

Not being a team player is not how you want to be branded. It is a dead end designation.  If this is how you are perceived and how you have been defined, take steps to reverse that.
Here are some questions to consider:
If you work in a silo, why do you choose to work that way?

What has been the impact of working in a silo on your career?

List three things you can do immediately to begin to reverse the image that you are not a team player.


How committed are you to making a change?
Part 3: How to leverage cooperation, collaboration and delegation effectively.


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