The Importance of Selflessness in Teamwork

The Importance of Selflessness in Teamwork


If you want to contribute positively towards the success of your team, it is important that you place others ahead of yourself. You have to be willing sometimes to take the backseat to other team members. Teams only succeed when its team members are prepared to place other team members above themselves. Being selfless is not always easy but it is a vital part of teamwork.

Related: Building Teams by Encouraging Teamwork

How to Cultivate an Attitude of Generosity

  • Be Generous. Generosity is at the heart of selflessness that unites and advances the team. A team is well placed for success when it consists of team members that are willing to give of themselves generously for the cause of the team.
  • Avoid Internal Politics. Playing politics on the team is one of the worst forms of selfishness. It usually includes posturing and positioning for your benefit regardless of how it may damage the team’s relationships. Selfless team members are more concerned about other team members benefitting than how they can benefit themselves.
  • Display Loyalty. Only when you show loyalty to other members of the team, can you expect loyalty from them. If you put yourself on the line for your team they will work hard for you and complete the tasks you give them, even in challenging circumstances. Loyalty fosters unity and unity leads to team success.
  • Value Interdependence over Independence. Independence is valuable as it often leads to hard work, innovation and the willingness to stand for what is right. But the independence taken too far has the characteristics of selfishness, especially when it harms or hinders other members of the team.

How to Become a More Selfless Team Member

  • Promote Someone Other Than Yourself. Do not always look to promote yourself and your achievements. Determine to keep silent about yourself more often and praise the work of the other team members. Always look for positive things to say about your team members.
  • Take a Subordinate Role. It is a natural tendency for people to want to take the best place and let others fend for themselves. Practice taking a subordinate role through the discipline of serving others and letting others go first.
  • Give Secretly. Give something to someone that can never repay you. You can make sure that a team member cannot repay you by giving them something in secret. If your giving is done in secret, it is impossible for the team member to repay you.

Resource: The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player


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