From time to time, during my career, I have been accused of not being a team player. Normally, this has to do with one area in particular, social events.
I am an introvert. Some people don’t get that about me right away because they’ve seen me do presentations, read my work, listened to my podcast, or watched my vlogs. I’m not shy, and I can turn it on when necessary, but it is important for me to have time to turn it off and not engage with another human being. I need recharge time. I also don’t bond with people through scheduled events. I’m slow to trust and need multiple encounters with people over a long period of time to warm up to them.
As I have progressed through my career and found myself in leadership positions, I understand that it is important to be social and participate in events whether I want to do them or not. I have stepped up my game. As a teacher, if it wasn’t an after school event for my students, I wouldn’t show up. If it was during my school contract time, I still wouldn’t participate unless it was mandated.
I also think it is important to be transparent so people don’t accuse me of not being a team player. I have found that makes all the difference. Then, colleagues don’t think I’m avoiding them if I don’t attend the social after work. They don’t think I’m being difficult if I don’t want to participate in the pitch in or some team spirit activity. I have made an effort to pick and choose some activities to be involved in because I have been in leadership for the last few years. I think it is a good way to find a happy medium with respecting who you are as a person and showing you are a team player.
I would be interested in hearing how you all have negotiated this in the workplace.