Whether today is your first day in the digital advertising industry, or you’re a lifelong vet, odds are you have a lot to learn in a lot of areas. Let’s go another step deeper. Some of you likely began your PPC journey in the infant years of digital advertising and are quite literally experts in the field. Others, likely in a much larger group, are still getting their feet wet in this vast unknown world we call digital advertising. Wherever you see yourself standing, I can guarantee you one thing… you haven’t and can’t do it alone.
You’ve had people believe in you enough to hire, train you, and even be trained by you. You did not get to where you are alone, and you definitely aren’t going to get where you desire to go without some help along the way.
Through many life lessons, experiences, & critical feedback, I’ve learned that I’m a pretty good teammate. Not because of how much of an expert I am in my field, or because I know the answer to every question, but because I’ve engrained myself with some of these tips I’m about to share with you. Now, by no means am I the LeBron James of teammates, (I’d prefer to think I’m more of the Michael Jordan if we wanted to derail this conversation and go into that debate) but, I am someone that values culture above a product. A person of integrity rather than one who solely looks out for their own good. In order to have a team, you need people willing and eager to work together to accomplish a common goal. If you have five people all with different goals, then that isn’t a team; instead, a disaster waiting to happen. As we continue, hopefully, you can use these practical steps in improving who you are as a teammate.
Tip 1: Be Open for Feedback (Both Giving & Receiving)
Feedback truly is a gift. Why wouldn’t you want to learn where you could be doing better? A good teammate doesn’t hide under the rock of their work but instead should stand up and ask for advice on what they can improve. Be open to the critical advice of your coworkers and supervisors. On top of that, give feedback to your teammates! This will show that you’re an active member of the team and that you are invested in what they are doing. This includes both positive and constructive feedback.
Tip 2: Encourage One Another
Think back to a time when you were on a sports team or early in your professional career, and you had a coach or boss pull you aside and say, “I believe in you. You can do this.” They continue on by encouraging you and pointing you to something greater than just that moment in time. No one is perfect. It’s normal for your teammate to mess up, turn in a project late, or forget to respond to an email. When that happens, instead of pinning all the frustration and guilt (which they probably already feel) try lifting them up and let them know that they got it next time. This seems really simple but, who doesn’t love being encouraged by others.
Tip 3: Ask Questions (Like… All the Time)
I mentioned LeBron earlier. Do you want to know how he got so good at basketball? He’s a true student of the game. He trains, watches films, and asks questions more than anybody else. He truly studies his game. Now, I’m not saying being a good teammate is to be the best person in the world at what you do, not at all. When we ask questions to our coworkers and supervisors, we open up so many new avenues to learn from. You may feel like you are annoying them with the constant questions and asking about this or that, but you asking those questions is helping your team know what areas they can improve and grow in as well. You may even be shocked to learn that sometimes you’ll know an answer to others’ questions.
Tip 4: HELP!!!
This one is easy. Everybody always has a full calendar and little buffer to get done what they need to get done on a given day. When your teammates sound stressed and need a helping hand, go out of your way to be that helping hand. Step in and learn a new task. Proofread that client email they may be stressed about. By extending an open hand, you’re building trust and confidence within your team.
Tip 5: Get to Know Your Teammates
What do people love doing? People love talking about what they love doing. Ask questions and be an active listener when your teammates are talking. In conversation, you’ll find similar interests that will open the door to future conversations, debates, and stories. You don’t need to be best friends with everyone you work with, but the more you begin to understand each other, the likelier you are to go into the trenches with them and succeed as a team. I try to find one or two things (at least) that I can always ask my teammates about before or after a meeting which has led to some really fun conversations. This has also led me to genuine friendships (some of my coworkers were at my wedding) and them being more open to receiving and giving feedback on performance. Lastly, it’s also made going into work feel lighter.