03 June 2020

Working remotely? Here are 6 things you can do to be a better team player on a virtual team

2:00 min

Remember the “telephone game” we used to play in school? We would form a line and the first person would whisper a sentence or phrase into the ear of the person next to them. On and on until it reached the last player in line who said the phrase out loud. Did they ever get it right? Nope.

Although smart working has countless appealing qualities, working in virtual teams can sometimes feel like an infinite game of telephone. Messages can be altered, deadlines miscommunicated, a lack of accountability, can mean that the end results often fail to meet the requirements.

1. Build trust

Teams and people depend on each other to get things done. Build trust by anticipating the needs of others. Your teammates will appreciate your proactivity and you’ll build better credibility with your peers. Trustworthiness is an important trait, especially in the absence of in-person supervision. 

2. Use emotional intelligence

As we digitally transcend borders through virtual collaborations, team cultures  differ from region to region. Some use consensus-based methods to formulate decisions; others host debates and confrontations as an integral part of decision-making. Emotional intelligence gives us the tools to recognise, empathise, understand, and respect diversity in a borderless workspace. 

3. Be autonomous

Do your best to take the initiative and practice independence. If you have excellent problem-solving skills, put them to the test and try different techniques to untangle the issue. If you are of a creative nature, think outside the box. If you exhaust all your resources, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Being a good team player starts with holding oneself accountable and having the competency to deliver. 

4. Adapt like a chameleon

Most projects don’t go as planned! Just like the telephone game, barriers such as communication challenges, information gaps and work distractions often lead to unmet deadlines. The key is to adapt to these situations and embrace change. Start by filtering out negative emotions, then reprioritise tasks, and  invent your own solutions. Here are a few tips from the experts on how to stay competitive by adapting. 

5. Be bold

If you think you have a good idea, say so. Your ideas are important. The world’s greatest leaders didn’t stand in a corner and keep their opinions to themselves. They voiced their ideas to ignite change and make a difference. Great ideas garner positive attention and leave a memorable mark. 


Finally, remember that not all days are equal and you’re going to have some tough ones. Get yourself out of bed and show up. People take notice and respect consistency, which will guarantee your time in the spotlight. Heed these words from Wayne Gretzky, one of the greatest hockey players of all time, who once said that “you miss 100 per cent of the shots you don’t take.”