Are you a strong team member?

As a PRS, we often work in a team environment that can include ourselves, doctors, psychiatrists, counselors, social workers, and other professionals. Each member of the team brings a unique perspective and skill set. Our challenge is to bring our ‘lived experience’ into a team environment where it is often not understood or seen as valid. Try as we may, sometimes, being on a team can feel as awkward as an astronaut floating by yourself around the earth and NASA is on lunch break. 

Speaking of NASA, ever notice that NASA doesn’t send one astronaut into space by themselves? Why? There’s a whole lot of space to fill and only one person to do it. See what I did there?  As we grow in our professional skills, it is helpful to understand the 5 important and non-negotiable qualities that make us a valuable member of a strong team. Here they are in no particular order:

  1. Self-awareness – If you don’t know who you are or how you work and affect others, you will not have much to contribute to the team because without  self-understanding, it’s hard to embrace your strengths and allow other team members to excel where you struggle. 
  2. Competence – In order to contribute in a valuable manner, each team member must have a thorough understanding of their job and how that job directly contributes to the goals of the team. 
  3. Commitment – You cannot succeed if you do not commit. Another way to say this is, “how bad do you want the team (and yourself) to succeed?
  4. Collaborative – The very nature of teamwork is combining and building upon each other’s skills and talents to achieve the common goal. 
  5. Contributor – You have to contribute or you are holding space on a team that needs someone who will. Even the smallest contribution can have the biggest impact.

How can you grow as a team member this week? Ask a trusted friend or colleague what areas they see as your strengths and any opportunities for growth. Be sure the person(s) you ask are safe, honest and their constructive feedback only has your best interests in mind. How can you support another team member’s growth? Together a team can soar to new heights, just ask these two…

~ Chris Newcomb


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