Many of us say “yes” at work so that we are / are seen as a “team player.”
I love team sports and thought of the partners and associates I worked with in big law as my case “teams.”
But this concept of taking on more and more work to be a “team player” has gotten warped – by our work culture and even in our own heads.
So, some things to consider…
1. Being a team player means taking on your fair share… of a fair share.
If you push back on taking your fair share of an unfair and unrealistic amount of work for your team, that does not mean you are not a team player. It just means you know your limits and your team’s limits.
It’s a workload problem – it has nothing to do with whether you’re a team player.
A great team player can say “no.”
2. The Admin Stuff
Are team players being asked to take on similar tasks / tasks that make sense for different roles?
Or are you being asked to take on note-taking and more administrative stuff when the men on you team are not?
If admin-y tasks aren’t being shared across all team players regardless of gender, then it’s completely fair to push back and say something like, “Oh – I took notes last time. James – can you do it this time?”
3. Great team players can still demand great leadership
Great leaders encourage realistic workloads & protect you from unrealistic demands.
if your leader isn’t doing that, you can push back to protect yourself and your team – which actually makes you a g eat team player.
And if they don’t change, go find another leader. Even the best team players can’t save a woefully mismanaged team.
You can be a great team player and stand up for yourself and your team.
If you catch someone telling you to do something to be a “team player” (even yourself), challenge whether that’s actually the issue at play.
Don’t let a warped, overreaching manipulation of “being a team player” trick you into not standing up for yourself and burning out.
Spread the word – send this article to a friend!