What does a ‘team player’ mean?

I have seen this word in a lot of resumes. And being in the Placement Committee, I have seen more than my share of resumes.

Every person mentions this quality as his strength. Strength is supposed to be something unique that others might not possess, otherwise it is not something worth talking about. However, how many of the people who include it actually have it? And what do they think it means?

No doubt that this is a typical management jargon. However, it has been often used in fields as varied as sports and some other varied field I cannot think of right now. Moving on, the thing about jargon is, it is often open to interpretations. And with a jargon which has two words, you can never be sure. For example, anyone who plays in a team can be called a team player. Try and argue with that! But it is not that simple now is it.

According to me, a team player is someone who thinks about the team that he plays for when he is playing in that team. For example, I am in my class football team, volleyball team, some project team, the placement team and I guess you get the drift. All these teams perform and behave differently and have their own micro-culture and their own unwritten rules. This comes with the fact that the players in each team are different from the others. But, I need to differentiate my efficacy and draw a line between each team. And finally if at some time I am not performing for any of these teams, I should be the individual I actually am so that I can adapt myself to the next team.

While writing this post, I am not in any particular team, and hence I can write without any of my teams affecting the way I am writing it. None of my experiences in any team is influencing me in any way while I type this down. But, all of the experiences will influence me as an individual that I am. Go ahead, join more teams. Become a team player in each of them so that you become a better you.


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