Does the word “team” conjure up long repressed memories of standing on the line in grade school watching all of your other classmates get picked for the kickball team before you?  You may have come a long way since third grade, but working on a team is still a necessity in most work environments.  What kind of teammate are you, the kind that your peers can’t wait to work with, or the kind where being assigned a project with you puts a cloud over their day?  Here are behaviors to avoid on group assignments to make sure you are not the last picked for the team!

Don’t be pushy.

We all know that on every team, there are introverts and extroverts. If you are the extroverted go-getter that automatically takes the role of team leader, then good for you.  Every team needs a leader to get the ball rolling, but make sure you are not too pushy.  Don’t boss teammates around or degrade them.  Don’t take it upon yourself to do all of the work either; you might think you are doing them a favor by eliminating or lightening their load, but not giving them a chance to shine could actually hinder their professional development. Be a solid leader and find people’s strengths, and delegate accordingly without barking orders.

Don’t let others do all of the work.

Conversely, if you are an introvert, it can be all too tempting to slip into the shadows and let everyone else divvy up the work amongst themselves.  However, it is important to volunteer your services and assistance, or you will develop a reputation of being lazy. As mentioned before, this could stunt your professional development.  Also, don’t drop the ball on your commitments once you have been given a task.  Saying you will do something and failing to follow through means that someone else will have to pick up your slack, likely at the last minute.  There are few quicker ways to get benched from your team!

Don’t take credit for everything.

A major teamwork pet peeve is when one individual tries to take credit for all of the work.  You might think you will get ahead by letting your supervisor think the collaborative efforts were all your work, but managers oftentimes can see through this facade, and it just makes you look dishonest and selfish.  Give credit where credit is due, and let your entire team bask in the glory of a job well done.

Don’t have a bad attitude.

Some people thrive in team settings, while others hate group work.  Regardless, it is important you are not the Negative Nancy of the group.  Not all work tasks are a ball of fun, but be sure to maintain a positive, proactive attitude so your bad vibes don’t throw off the team dynamics and hinder productivity.

Even if the idea of teamwork makes you cringe, each opportunity to work on a project is an opportunity to cultivate your skills and develop your career, so take advantage of it!