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Team working (Young HPC | Skills and behaviours)

It’s rare for any job to involve working completely on your own. In the vast majority of positions you’ll be part of a team, often working with peers, managers or people you manage. Working well in a team is an important and highly transferable skill.

So how can you develop your team-working abilities to make them attractive to a future employer? And make yourself a better team player once you’re in the job?

What is team working?

Team working is simply the ability to work effectively within a team of people. It’s a life skill that will come in useful outside of work. In your career, it means working together with colleagues to deliver the best outcomes.

Examples of team working include collaborating effectively on a project or within a department. They might also include less structured or formal arrangements – for example, cooperating across teams to take safe delivery of outsized or heavy equipment.

Team working at HPC

Team work is an integral part of many jobs at Hinkley Point C (HPC). Take these two job descriptions, advertised at HPC.

Plant & Transport Operations Apprentice – duties include:

  • Obtaining pricing and quotes from suppliers
  • Raising purchase orders
  • Chasing suppliers for deliveries as required
  • Being the first point of contact for phone calls to the department
  • Processing Goods received notes
  • General administration duties

Business Administrator Apprentice – duties include:

  • Telephone and e-mail correspondence
  • Support workshop/event planning, preparation and support at event
  • Updating the Supply Chain website and preparing correspondence with the registrants
  • Communicating with a variety of people from stakeholders to local business owners

Team working is a highly useful and transferable skill, often listed among the top most desirable skills for young professionals and jobseekers. Being a good team player improves the whole team’s work. But it could also get you noticed by your managers and colleagues – and make a big difference to your career success.

Examples of team work in action

Working well in a team means putting the needs and objectives of the team above your own, and considering your role alongside others. Let’s look at some examples of how good team working can improve the outcome for everyone.

Joe’s part of a team charged with designing social distancing controls for a Covid-19 secure workplace. He’s a communications specialist tasked with working out how videoconferencing will play a role. But in meetings, he openly criticises suggestions by other team members.

By criticising others, Joe risks upsetting his colleagues and undermining their expertise. In turn, they might be less likely to respect his area of ability – and the overall solution could be less effective. Good team working means respecting other people’s opinions and abilities. And presenting any questions or suggestions constructively, at an appropriate time.

Daisy’s an attacking midfielder in her house football team. She’s a talented goal scorer, but lately she’s too focused on going for glory, often squandering possession rather than passing to her teammates.

It’s a cliché that there’s no ‘I’ in team, but nobody likes someone determined to get the glory for themselves. Building up an effective attack means sharing the ball, finding space and supporting whoever’s best-placed to break through. While Daisy might score fewer goals, the team’s likely to get more that way, and her teammates will recognise her talent.

It’s a Friday: Ali’s finished his work and is heading home early for the weekend. When he leaves, his colleagues are still working hard to install a complex plumbing system, but Ali isn’t working on that part of the project.

It’s not wrong for Ali to leave, but a good team player might offer to step up and help. Even if he can’t pitch in, offering a round of tea might lift the mood, helping Ali show support for his colleagues.

Why is team working important in the workplace?

Employers value good team working for many reasons. It goes without saying that many people working together can achieve more than individuals working alone.

I’m working daily with people I may have never heard of or seen on the project – such as contractors, suppliers or even new programme team members. Collaborative working is key on this project; it’s the main reason we stick to the schedule.

Latifah Salawu,
Supply Chain Apprentice

Working and succeeding as a team can be a very rewarding experience too. Working closely with others helps you gain perspective on your own personal strengths. You can tap into the experience of others to address your own weaknesses, too. Working towards a common goal can boost your motivation: in a good team, every member wants to do their part and not let anyone down.

Being a good team player is important to progressing your career. Working well with others – offering support and being prepared to share and learn ideas, for example – is a core skill for anyone in a managerial or supervisory position. If you’re hoping to gain more responsibility, it’s important you demonstrate your understanding of the team, and your role in getting the best from it.

How might you have demonstrated good team working at school or college?

If you’re at school or college, you’ve probably already had the chance to develop team-working skills. Perhaps you worked with lab partners to design experiments. Or with a friend to practise speaking a foreign language. You may have worked in larger groups, across the year group, to deliver detailed projects or coursework.

If you’ve already been employed – even in a part-time or Saturday role – you’ll have almost certainly developed some team-working skills. Working in a team is essential to common tasks like restocking shelves, serving people in a restaurant, or being a labourer on a building job.

You’ve almost certainly learned about teamwork when playing sports too. You may have demonstrated it with siblings or friends. For example, pitching together to earn money for washing cars.

I found that running a football team gave me the opportunity to understand team management in a safer environment. One of the first things I learnt was that in football you have 15 minutes for the half-time break. But, in fact, you have five minutes of the team’s attention at best. So you had better learn how to be clear and concise to give them all the information, direction and inspiration you need to in that time!

Nigel Cann,
Former Craft Electrical Apprentice and now Project Delivery Director at HPC

How can you develop this skill?

The best way to develop your teamwork skills is to become an active member of more teams! If you’re not already, consider working or volunteering for an organisation, charity or company that gives you the opportunity to work with others.

Alternatively, look for community groups tackling issues you feel passionately about - perhaps you could get involved with a local food bank, band, or other projects where you’ll work in a group?

When you’re working in a team, think about the overall objectives and what you need to do to help achieve them. It’s important to share ideas, but also to ensure you listen to everyone else.

Exercises to develop your team working skills

A key part of learning to work in a team is keeping track of your tasks and responsibilities within it. Meetings or video conferences can play a key role, with many teams using apps or software like Microsoft Teams or Google G Suite. Some may assign and track tasks with list-making apps like Trello. Familiarise yourself with some of these platforms and apps. And experiment with using them to support you and any teams you’re involved in. For instance, Trello is a good tool for prioritising your revision across subjects.

Consider your own strengths and weaknesses. Knowing your skills will help you understand what qualities you bring to the team, so everyone is playing to their strengths. If you’re not sure what your strengths and weaknesses are, take a look at the other skills and behaviours to see if you can identify with any of these. And talk to your family, friends and teachers to get someone else’s perspective.

Watch this TED talk from Tom Wujec of Autodesk to discover why pre-schoolers outperform graduates in the marshmallow team-building challenge. It’ll make you rethink how teams work together best!

How can you demonstrate team working?

Almost every job candidate will claim they’re a great team worker. But employers are looking for people who can demonstrate it. In an interview or informal chat, it’s likely you’ll be asked to give examples of the times you’ve worked in a team. So it’s wise to pick a couple of examples, and have a short explanation in mind.

Think of the sports, clubs, activities, projects or jobs you’ve been involved in. How did you contribute to a team – and how did that improve the outcome? Think also about how the team functioned, and what you learned from the experience. Is there something you’re keen to put into practice?

Even things as trivial as a cooking rota amongst housemates shows initiative and an ability to organise and work in a team. And remember: if this is your first job or placement, how you’ve worked in a team is likely to be more important than what that team actually did together.

In a survey of employee skills, 37% of employers said they struggled to find people who were good at team working.(1) So being able to demonstrate this skill could give you a big advantage.

Useful links

There are plenty of resources to help you learn more about team working, or find other ways to develop your skill. Check out some of the following links:

  1. Read more about team working on Start Profile, a free online careers platform for 11-18 year olds

  2. Youth Employment UK has a guide to teamwork skills

  3. Discover how team working is an essential part of most jobs in this ‘Brand Journeys’ activity from Start – completing it to build up your profile

Related skills

Team working touches on many other skills and behaviours you’ll need in the workplace:

Having emotional awareness is important in being able to put yourself in the place of other members in your team. Read more about emotional awareness.

Communication is also essential for any team worker: you need to be able to express your views clearly. And know when to pipe down and listen to others. Read more about communication.

Then there’s responsibility. Being a team worker means taking responsibility for how you behave in the team and also being responsible for what everyone produces together. Read more about responsibility.

Become a member

Are you aged between 16 and 21? If so, please click on the link below to register for Young HPC.

If you have any questions, please contact