Team player or problem? Do you work well with others?

Team Player

Most often in FIFO or DIDO roles, you don’t get to choose your team mates.

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Most often in FIFO or DIDO roles, you don’t get to choose your teammates. You get assigned to a ‘swing’ and that’s the end of that. Even if you’re in a project-based role, you might have to work side by side with your team for six to 12 months before the project is complete and you’re reassigned to another project.

Now, if you get along with your teammates, that’s great. But I’m sure you’ve all worked in at least one team where things just didn’t ‘gel’. Either the team didn’t perform to its targets, the manager wasn’t able to get everyone onboard with their ideas, or there was a ‘problem child’. Each of these could mean awkwardness, poor performance or even aggression in extreme cases.

Some things are within our control, and some are not. Trying to change things outside of your control is a waste of time that will only lead to frustration. You can’t change other people, for instance. But you can change the way you interact with them and how you perform as part of your team.

Making small changes in these areas can quite often have a big impact on the situation and lead to positive changes in how others behave as well.

READ MORE: How to constructively address conflict in the mining workplace

How to be a better team player

If you’re in a team where things aren’t quite going to plan, some of these ideas might help:

Find common ground

You might be working with people from different backgrounds, or from various parts of Australia or overseas, who have differing views, ideas and cultures. Often the first reaction is to steer clear of what we see as being different.

Sometimes all it takes is to find something you have in common to really start changing the way you work together. What common ground do you have? Sport, family, a hobby like fishing, music, four-wheel driving, cooking – the list goes on. A simple question like “what keeps you busy when you’re not at work?” could be all it takes to get someone talking. Odds are, you’ll find something you have in common with most anyone – if you try.

Show respect

If you’ve already tried to get to know someone, but it’s just not working, what then? You’ve still got to work with them, right? You don’t need to be friends with everyone you work with, but you can always treat others as you hope they would treat you. Consistent kindness and respect, even when it doesn’t feel deserved, can go a long way towards improving team dynamics.

Be willing to have the hard conversation

What about the problem child – the teammate who causes no end of grief for you and your colleagues. I won’t get into the safety or technical side of things, because that’s a different matter. One thing to be careful of is letting a small issue turn into a huge problem, either because it isn’t dealt with quickly enough and has festered and blown out of proportion, or the person now thinks that their behaviour is normal and acceptable.

Although it is often easier to avoid bringing up a problem, especially with someone  you suspect doesn’t handle conflict well, having that conversation sooner rather than later will pay dividends. Just be sure to be specific and avoid insults. Focus on the problem, not the person. You’ll often find an issue faced squarely can be resolved, whereas one you avoid will likely only get worse.

Get help

If you’ve tried everything you can think of and you’re still not getting anywhere, it may be time to have a conversation with your manager or superintendent, or even your HR department. You can’t always solve every problem on your own. Even though you may feel reluctant to get others involved, it can be wise if a problem in your team is hampering your work and making life miserable for you and others on the job.

If all else fails, maybe it’s time to find a new position. The best way to find your ideal job is to register for job alerts. You’ll never miss a posting and be one of the first to know about new opportunities.

Mining People International

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Mining People International