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Kovar Systems
Staff Development Instructor Tips

How to be a Team Player

By Dave Kovar

There are few things more important to the long term success of a martial arts school than having a cohesive team.  When a team is working well together, more gets done and the process is more enjoyable. In essence, everybody benefits...


Following are some general guidelines that will help you keep your team in the flow:

Be Loyal To Those Not Present – No one likes to be talked about behind their back and we should not tolerate people talking bad to others in our presence.

Do More Than Your Fair Share – We all appreciate working with someone that doesn’t say, “That’s not my job.”  Develop a reputation for being someone that will do “whatever it takes” to get the job done.

Be Dependable – Get in the habit of being where you are supposed to be, when you are supposed to be there, and ready to do the job.

Anticipate Your Partner’s Next Move – Good teammates rarely need to be told what to do next because they have anticipated the needs of their partner and are already doing it.

Don’t Vent Out Or Down…Only Up. Then Don’t Vent…Explain – Nothing is worse for morale than whining or venting to people who aren’t in a position to solve the problem.  Go to the source and then explain your viewpoint in a logical, unemotional manner.

Be Flexible – Sometimes it is okay to do it someone else’s way.

When Giving An Assignment, “Ask, Don’t Tell” – No one likes to be told what to do, but most everyone is glad to help out when asked.

When Getting An Assignment, Have An “I’ll Be Glad To” Attitude – Be open to input and willing to help. This person is entrusting a project to you. Be thankful they think highly enough of you to accomplish this item.

Practice Non-Judgment – We are all different, with varied strengths and weaknesses.  Being judgmental undermines individuals.

Pick Your Battles – The Pope says, “See Everything, Overlook A Lot, Correct A Little” – If you always have to be right, people will tend to resent you and be resistant to your ideas.

When At Work, Put Your Game Face On – We all have personal challenges that we deal with on a regular basis, but when you get to work, leave those problems at the door.

These tips, while easy to say but hard to execute reliably every day, will help you develop and keep the positive habits that make you an invaluable member of the team. Discuss these with other members of your team to get feedback on which areas you do well with today, and which ones you could be better at implementing tomorrow.


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by Dave Kovar