6 Secrets of Great Team
Anyone who’s worked in information
technology for any length of time has probably been asked to join a
project team. Working with a group of colleagues can be fun, as teams
become infused with camaraderie and a shared sense of mission. But being
a group participant can also be challenging, especially for technology
workers whose interactions are often focused on a computer screen.
Nonetheless, the ability to collaborate
with others is an essential skill in the IT world. If you can’t work
with others on a project team, your ability to take on positions of
ever-growing importance in your organization may be hampered.
How do you move from working as an “I”
to a “we”? Here are six secrets of great team members:
1. They check their egos at the
door. No one wants to be on a team with someone who considers
himself the smartest person in the room. Teams are brought together,
after all, because organizations need people who can bring a mix of
skills and strengths to bear to solve problems.
Don’t join a group boasting about
your aptitude with a particular technology or how adeptly a past
work team handled a similar challenge. If you’re really the smartest
person in the room, your teammates will discover that on their own.
2. They’re flexible.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “There’s no I in team.” Once you
become part of a team, you have to shift your thinking from being
self-focused to concentrating on what’s best for the group. This means
temporarily setting aside your preferred modes of operating and adopting
the rules, protocols and work practices of the team.
If, for instance, you do your best
work at the last minute, you may have to begin to work in advance so
others on the team can weigh in before a deliverable is due.
3. They’re good listeners.
The best team members don’t always need to be heard; they’re comfortable
participating through listening. As a result, they’re usually the ones
who are the most informed about where the team stands and who is
Although there are times when you
should speak up, listening more than you talk is hardly ever a
negative. In a team environment, there are always going to be people
who compete to be heard. Those who listen well are rarer and
potentially much more valuable.
4. They accept constructive
criticism. Rather than becoming defensive, successful team
members understand that useful critiques are an opportunity to improve
the end product, and that goes for whether they’re giving or receiving
They accept input with an open mind
and are willing to explore alternative solutions. Likewise, when
they must offer critiques to others, they do so in a direct and
respectful manner that inspires others to want to revisit and
improve their work.
5. They’re all in. Too
often, professionals hide behind the shield of a team. They may not take
the responsibility they would if they alone were responsible for the
outcome of a project. But the best team members are as serious about
their shared responsibilities as they are about their individual ones.
They’re not passive participants, and
they come to meetings having done what they said they would at the
end of the last one. They don’t relegate the team’s needs to the
back burner while pursuing individual initiatives. Through their
actions, not just their words, they show they’re “all in” when it
comes to the team’s success.
6. They go with the flow.
Working with a group of people means that everything isn’t always going
to proceed smoothly. Setbacks will occur, goals will be altered and the
team may have to occasionally change directions. Rather than letting
these hiccups discourage you and using them as an excuse to lessen your
commitment, accept that things can change quickly. Stay focused on what
the team — and you — need to do to get back on track and address the
challenge at hand.
The next time you’re asked to join a
project team, keep in mind that, although a team achieves its goals as a
group, its strength is derived from its individual members. Do your part
to observe these practices, and you’ll quickly develop a reputation as
an indispensable team member.
By Robert Half Technology
Odd Jobs: The Top 10 Strangest Job Titles Posted on Workopolis
By Peter Harris
For our 2013 year-in-review research, we
counted down the
fasted growing and declining job titles
posted on Workopolis this year.
While putting the numbers together for
that project, we also decided to take a look back at some of the
stranger job titles we’d seen employers post on our site. We’re no
strangers to odd job titles. Here at Workopolis we have a Manager of
First Impressions. (That would be Joan, and if you drop by our office,
she’s the first person you’ll see.) However, that’s nothing compared to
some of these gems.
From a wiener peeler to a manager of
mints, there have been interesting-sounding employment opportunities
advertised on Workopolis. Here are our ten favourite.
- Full Time
Wiener Peeler (This was for a prepared meat company.)
Superintendent (This job title at a construction company
raised some eyebrows.)
Coordinator (Perhaps whoever posted this job for a Sales
& Marketing Coordinator should have rethought their abbreviation.)
- Shaft and
Hoist Specialist (Apparently this as actually a common
job in the mining industry. It struck me as funny sounding.)
- Bung Hole
Borer (The person in this role works in wooden furniture
- Chick Sexer
(It’s not what it sounds like. A chick sexer determines
the gender of baby chickens.)
Upsetter (My wife thinks I’d be perfect for this – but
it’s actually a job setting up and operating a closed-die forging
Manager (I think my wife would be perfect for this,
because well, she really likes cheese.)
Hunter (Literally this was a job posted for someone to
hunt ghosts – for a reality TV show.)
Mints & Innovation (This was for a candy company looking
to get more innovative with their mints, I suppose.)
Mayor of Montreal - (Yes, earlier this year, after losing
several mayors to scandal, the Montreal Chamber of Commerce posted the
job of Montreal Mayor on Workopolis. Qualifications included, “Being
honest.” This was mostly as a publicity stunt – a new mayor was
For more out-there jobs, check out
photographer Nancy Rica Schiff’s collection of
photographs of the oddest jobs in the world
from dog food taster to odour examiner.
And for more serious information about
labour market trends in 2013 and a look ahead to 2014, you can read the
full year-in-review report at
University Degrees with 100% Employment Six Months After Graduation
By Peter Harris
Good news for grads. While some sectors
hire more graduates – and pay higher salaries – than others, most
students end up working in their field. Here are the hottest (and
highest paying) university degrees.
The Council of Ontario Universities
recently conducted a survey of university graduates to create a snapshot
of their post-school careers. The study reached out to 70,845 students
who graduated in 2010 to find out how they were doing six months after
finishing school, and then again two years after graduation.
Contrary to much of what we here about
underemployment in the news lately, it turns out that the majority of
grads were employed within the six month time frame – and almost all of
them were working two years after leaving school. Six months after
graduation, the average employment rate for graduates of university
undergraduate programs was 86.5%.
programs with 100% employment in six months
- Veterinary Medicine
- Medicine (98%)
- Pharmacy (98%)
The graduates also report that in most
cases the skills they learned in school are related to those that they
use on the job. Six months after leaving school, 76% of graduates
employed full-time said that their job is either closely or somewhat
related to what they studied in school. By the two-year mark, that
number had climbed to 82%.
Six months after finishing school, the
average salary for graduates of undergraduate degree programs was
$42,668 a year. After just 18 more months on the workforce, this average
salary had climbed by 15% to $49,277 a year. The average Canadian salary
is $47,745 right now.
Unsurprisingly, those degrees that have
full employment have a high-demand for workers, so graduates in these
fields also earn considerably more than the average pay rate soon after
entering the job market.
The highest earning
degrees six months after graduating
- Optometry ($90,000)
- Dentistry ($83,000)
- Pharmacy ($75,000)
- Veterinary ($65,000)
- Nursing, Medicine, Law ($58,000)
According to this survey, many university
degree programs have an over 90% employment rate two years after
graduation – and those workers earn above average salaries.
This should come as welcome news for
recent university graduates looking to crack into the job market. If
you’re struggling right now, hang in there. Most grads say that they
really do end up working in their field of study.
Of the 70,845 grads surveyed for this
study 36% or 25,583 people responded. For more details, you can read the
full report on the
Council of Ontario Universities website .