We can all agree that negativity in the workplace is not healthy. Yet, in recent surveys, many of us work with at least one person who is negative. Negativity is just one type of poor teammate. There are things we all do that can upset our colleagues and we may not even realize it. Here are ten things you can do to help create a culture of teamwork and collaboration and, ultimately, be a better teammate to your colleagues.

  1. Leave your cell phone at your desk when in a meeting. Cell phones are not only distracting when they ring, with today’s smart phones, checking email and text messages is simply disrespectful. You can’t look at it if you don’t have it with you.
  2. Be ‘in the moment’. Contrary to our own misgivings, we can only be in one place at a time and, when you are communicating with your colleagues, be “there” and demonstrate that you care about what they are saying.
  3. Praise your teammates. Praise and recognition needs to come from more than just the boss. If a co-worker does something nice, be sure to recognize them either privately or in a team meeting.
  4. Offer to help a teammate. We are all overworked, but if we take just a few minutes to help a teammate with one of their tasks our mind is distracted from our work. When we return, we are fresher and ultimately are more effective.
  5. Practice maintaining appropriate eye contact when communicating. Eye contact helps to generate trust. Just be careful not to become overbearing and get into a staring contest.
  6. Get to know your teammates. Too often today we are just showing up to work and really do not know each other. If you think about it, we are probably spending more of our waking hours with our colleagues than we are with our families. When you get to know each other, you can help each other.
  7. Be a role model. The old adage of treat others the way you would like to be treated holds true. If you act like a role model to others on your team, you will be looked up to and valued as a great teammate.
  8. Work at a level one step higher than you are paid. This goes along with being a role model. Your stock value goes sky high when others see you working and doing more.
  9. Reduce your internal email communication. In today’s technological society it is sometimes easier to shoot an email to a teammate. Before you do, stop and think. While it may be more efficient to send the email, if you were to drop by their desk and communicate face-to-face, what could that do for your workplace relationship?
  10. Be respectful. Simply put, be respectful of your teammates as it relates to time, productivity, and personality style. The more respectful you are of others, the more respectful they will be of you and your time.

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