Being A Team Player Keeps Ageism Away
Being a team player is becoming more important as ageism continues to grow in the workplace. Ageism, discrimination of an individual based on their age, becomes emphasized in office settings when stereotypes are assumed by those interacting with the individual.
One stereotype that has proven difficult to steer clear of is ‘pride in ownership.’ While in younger generations this is listed as a strength in business, for older generations this can be a detrimental line item to include on a resume. The stereotype plastered on older generations is that they hold onto ideas rather than sharing them; that they take achievements as personal wins rather than wins that build up the entire team or organization.
While these stereotypes are most often not the truth for older individuals who pride themselves on commitment to their work and their company, rather than working only for their own gain, as with any stereotype it’s a hard one to kick. Distancing yourself from stereotypes can be a challenge. In order to distance from this specific stereotype, it’s going to take extra effort, so be prepared to fight hard to push this stereotype to the curb. It’s important to make an amplified effort to be inclusive with all members of your team, and to fight to prove that you are in each project for the benefit of the greater good, rather than the benefit to your career growth alone. Imagine your face on billboards shouting “I Care!” That’s what it’s going to take to steer clear of this stereotype in the office.
By actively working to shine as a team player in all workplace situations you encounter, you will find that you not only have one less ageist stereotype that your co-workers can easily check off as a box you fit into, but also that you will build invaluable support from your team members that can come in very handy with any future ageism fight you need to take on.
Building up a team of comrades is about more than just proving a stereotype, like being a solo player, to be untrue. It’s also about building a solid group of acquaintances and teammates around you who will fight for you when you need them to. Maybe you haven’t experienced ageism yet, but you could in the next 12 months. Would you rather be putting in extra effort to be seen as a team player so you have genuine teammates to back you up? Or would you rather keep on a different path and face it alone?
Amping up your display of being a team player can impact your life today, and it can take on an important part in your future at work too. Here are ways to more strongly come across as a team player when you need to actively fight ageism:
Consistently Offer Help
The number one thing you can do to show you want what is best for every member of your team is to consistently ask how you can help. Be prepared that you can’t just ask this question and have it float into the air. Instead, you will have times where coworkers ask for an extra hand on a project that has a quick turnaround. Both offering help, and lending it, are important parts of shining a light onto your ability to work together.
Offering help isn’t just about waiting to be asked either. Instead, actively try to solve problems within the team. Actively take on extra work that is lingering and up for grabs will show your team that you are fighting for their benefit also.
Look for Teaching Opportunities
Everyone is always up to learn something new. Be on the lookout for any teaching opportunities that come up within your team. Have you come across something really cool that might pertain to a current or future project? Share a link to the article you read or the video you watched! Have more details than that? Set up a workshop to share what you know. Your co-workers will appreciate you bringing them up to speed on what you’ve learned.
Being reliable is undervalued. Be the teammate that everyone can rely on. Help where you can, help when you can. You’ll find that the more reliable you are the more you become a person, not a stereotype, to all those that you work with regardless of how many years of experience you have on your resume.