5 Steps to Be a Stellar Team Player


Teamwork and building effective partnerships are par for the course in almost every work environment. As we are continuously challenged to do more with less learning how to effectively manage our partnerships and be a stellar team player are essential to our success. How do we make the most of every partnership to ensure success and great peer reviews? Jackson Nickerson, PhD, Associate Dean of Brookings Executive Education and professor at Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis, recommends STRIDE, a five step process to manage successful partnerships.

  1. Selection – Select good partners (when you have choice).

Below are recommendations on what you should consider when looking for partners:

  • What’s important to success?
  • Where are your shortcomings and how can potential partners help?
  • Are they trustworthy?
  • Do they have similar motivations, goals and objectives?
  • Are they willing and able to engage and communicate with you as often as necessary?
  • Are they willing and able to invest the time and/or finances required?
  1. Trust and Reputation – Trust is built from good character, good will and ability. Your reputation is cumulative and long lasting. It is extremely difficult to change your reputation once it has been established.
    • To build trust be true to your word, support others, demonstrate your capacity to achieve successful outcomes, invest your time and listen, find opportunities to accomplish small wins early and be consistent. Delivering on all of these will create a reputation for trustworthiness.
  2. Incentives – Mutual incentives provide a foundation for common interest and common action.
    • At the onset, work together to create common goals and stay focused on them throughout the process. Try to structure incentives for mutual benefit so that failing to cooperate harms everyone.
  3. Dialogue and communications – Dialogue is the willingness to have a multi-way and open conversation. Communication is the ability to share and verify the meaning of things.
    • Ask open ended probing questions to understand the landscape and do not discuss solutions until a common understanding of the challenge is mutually understood.
  4. Equivalent dependency – Implies that each partner has about the same ‘skin in the game’. When one partner makes an investment so does the other. Such dependency builds credible commitments to each other.
    • Always verify that partners perceive an equivalence of dependency so that it continues to deepen.
    • Formalize a governance structure to address issues when they arise.

Thank you Professor Nickerson for sharing STRIDE!

Kimberly Hall is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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