Be an effective team member

Members of the French men’s national football team, including reserve players, celebrating their win during the 2018 Fifa World Cup. A team’s win must be celebrated. – Picture borrowed

DID you read the article about the best coaches last week, the one that I wrote?
That article is related to this, which is to share with you tips on how to best work in a team and completing tasks and achieving goals that are set by the management.
In last week’s article, I described the best coaches and shared the qualities that make such professionals stand out.
Good coaches are needed in sports, academics, as in schools, and in business ventures.
In a similar way, a “good team” is needed for sporting clubs, cohorts of students, or new business ventures to succeed.
The term “good team” as would be used in this article refers to the chemistry of a good team, the qualities that make the members of such a unit successful, as in them working together to achieve a set goal.
And good team members are needed on any day to help the team succeed.

Good teams are needed everywhere
When you look around you, you will notice that an organisation, firm or football team that is doing well is composed of good team members working together.
A good team of teachers, with a good principal, will guide their students properly so that they do well in their exams, and that brings a good name to the school and the administration.
A good team in a football club wins most of their games and their players are selected to represent their nation in international matches. The coach and trainers can also be recognised and taken on for national duties.
A good team in a small business will ensure that their clients get their items or services on time and are happy with the service.
A good military unit assigned to rescue hostages will be efficient in moving in quickly to take the hostages from those who hijacked them, and moving them to safety without causing any unnecessary fatalities.
A good church is one where people learn and grow in their faith, and support the work to reach out to more disadvantaged people to help them also change their bad ways and take on a new direction towards God.
A good team, and led by a Member of Parliament (MP), is vital in ensuring that their district gets the essential services each year, and for the five years that the MP is in office.
So, good teams are necessary in many different areas in life.
Now, let us turn to how you, as an individual, can be a valuable member of a team, one that helps the unit succeed.

As a team member, you have roles
If you are a member of a team, you will have set roles that you must perform to help your team achieve its goal.
If you are a midfielder in football, your role, with your fellow midfielders, must be to help the backs in the team to get the ball from your side of the field to your forwards, who will then attack and score goals.
As a midfielder, you are the link between the backs and forwards. If you do not perform your role, your forwards will not get good balls frequently and as a result will not score goals.
The goalkeeper, backs and forwards also have their goals and they all must perform them effectively to ensure your team scores more goals, and at the same time prevent your opponents from scoring.
In business and the military, the same is true. Members of teams must know what their roles are, and also know how to effectively perform them.

The Bible teaches the importance of working together
Let’s take a break here and look at something else.
The New Testament has some very interesting things to say about working together as a team, or as members of a church.
The Apostles have taught these principles in a few places in the Bible and, when you have time, check for yourself and learn from those.
In 1 Corinthians 12. 1-31, Paul illustrates the principles of working together as members of a church.
He likens the different members of the church, or a congregation, to parts of the human body. He emphasises that all the parts of the body are vital and should work together.
In verse 14, he says “for the body is not one member, but many”, meaning the body is composed of all parts together, not just one.
In verse 16, he states: “As if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; it is therefore not of the body?”
That is to illustrate that the ear is as important as the eye, it cannot consider itself unimportant because the eye tends to play a seemingly more important role.
These Bible principles are vital and we all can apply them appropriately to our teams, if we are members of a team.
We must emphasise that all members of our team are important.
True, in today’s world, some people, as some MPs, love to get all the glory when something goes well in their electorate or province. But that is not the virtue of a good team player.
The good team player or member will acknowledge the worth of each and every member of the unit that made them successful.

As a team member, you have must have goals
A good team has a common goal, and in football it is to win their match.
But good teams are also composed of players who have their own personal goals, something that is not talked about too often.
A good goalkeeper and his or her backs will have their own goals to stop the opposing team from scoring any goals. Maybe, to have no goals scored against them. That is a good goal for defenders to have.
On the other hand, if you were to ask a prolific goal scorer on how he or she thinks, they will tell you that before each game, they mentally told themselves the number of goals they would score.
They set individual goals. They work as a team, but they have their own goals.
Top NBA basketball players have the same kind of mentality. Before their game, they already have a target set, whether to score 30 points against a weaker team, or 18 against a more competitive side.
Good salesmen or women also set individual goals, to sell 100 items or 1000 items in a month, depending on what industry they are in.

A good team member cares for other teammates
The good team member also cares about the other teammates.
If you are a young footballer and making your first appearance in a game, some of the players on the team may not provide help and care as much as you would expect.
But there will be a few who will reach out to you and encourage you, even when you make horrible mistakes in a game.
They are often the best assets in a good team, in ensuring that players continue to be developed and strengthen the team and ensure its success journey continues longer.
When the time comes, you too should make it your effort to look out for other new or younger teammates and help them where needed.
In the business world, such people who care for and encourage other newer teammates are performing the roles of mentors.
In church, you will find some people like that too. They are valuable members of the congregation.

A good team member accepts penalties

There are moments in time when a team member may mess up.
In football, a defender who is slow in responding to their opponents’ attack play time and again can be taken off the field and replaced by another player who is “tuned into the game”.
Furthermore, such a player who is not performing as expected can find himself or herself warming the bench in the next two games.
A good team member must accept such penalties and improve his or her game.
I should make a point here too that certain supervisors, or coaches, can make wrong calls and blame a team member for a badly completed task.
In such cases, a good team member must speak up and ask the supervisor or coach to be more rational in their decision.
I have worked with supervisors and managers who were often biased in some of their views and have made bad comments about team members, at times excusing the wrongdoings of other team members.
Such supervisors are bad for any team. They are not winners.

A good team member celebrates with the team
This is a point that may seem small, but is vital, particularly in sports teams.
Whenever a team member is successful in performing their role, like a forward in a football team scoring a goal, all the other team members must celebrate with him or her.
That is, celebrate with your team, even if you are on the bench.
When France won the Fifa World Cup trophy in 2018, all their reserve players also rushed onto the field and celebrated with the coach Didier Deschamps and the 11 who were on the pitch.
The team’s win was the team’s win, and everyone wins when the 11 did a good job.
As one who has been following community AFL matches here in Adelaide, South Australia, I often hear coaches calling for their players to cheer a goal-scorer.
“Gather around him, guys. Gather around him,” is a call that is common for coaches when a goal is scored by one of their players.
A team must celebrate as a team on the pitch and in good individual moments, as when a single goal is scored.
Next article: How to make the family succeed as a team

  • Thomas Hukahu is an Australia Awards student in Adelaide.

Doreen gives communication tips

Doreen Philip (middle) with the chemistry students after her first session on July 16 . – Pictures supplied.

WITH a passion for teaching, Doreen Philip reached out to University of Papua New Guinea first year chemistry students to help them with their communication skills.
Doreen is the communications officer for the Institute of National Affairs and a graduate of the university.
After being told by a tutor that the students have trouble expressing themselves creatively in their lab reports, she took time out as her community service to help meet the need.
She did the first talk with the students on July 16 and a second talk on Sept 3.
In her presentation, Doreen shared insights on communication, leadership, creativity and adaptability.

“ I encouraged students to volunteer and take part in extra-curricular activities to develop their confidence, listening skills and build their network.”

“I felt compelled to go back and help students at UPNG because I was educated at that university and saw the need to inspire the younger generation coming through the institution to embrace the fundamental values of respect, hard work, team work and commitment.”
To help students better understand her presentation, Doreen shared with them a copy of her letter of interest to an organisation and work application samples.
She also provided them with tips on job interviews.
“I encouraged students to volunteer and take part in extra-curricular activities to develop their confidence, listening skills and build their network,” she said.
The community service engagement is not her first involvement with science. In 2019, Doreen volunteered as a science ambassador at ExxonMobil PNG and participated in the teaching of lessons on rock and geology.
That was an initiative to encourage students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Since then, she has been making time to speak to students and provide encouragement, especially on education, discipline and responsible living.