What Does It Mean to be a Team Player?

Aimee Yoon

Aimee Yoon

With her strategic thinking and keen media savvy, Aimee is a media relations guru and knows how to craft the angles reporters really want. Prior to co-founding Dotted Line Communications, Aimee sharpened her skills at InterActive Public Relations, a division of Porter Novelli International, Miller […]

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“You have to be a team player.” It’s a statement heard from little league fields to startups, and even all the way up to Fortune 500 companies. It’s an important skill to master in all aspects of life. Knowing how to balance our personal needs, goals and desires, with those of a larger group, can make all the difference when it comes to seeing positive results.

Here at DLC, teamwork is a key element of our company’s success and our client’s wins. But what makes a good team player? After more years than I care to admit in the PR industry, here are some thoughts on what I’ve found to be the key ingredients.


1)    Communicate results as a team effort.

It is always super exciting to be the star of the team, hooking the big reporter at the Wall Street Journal on a story you pitched, but that win really isn’t all about you. The reality is, that pitch was probably crafted by multiple team members, who all contributed thoughts and edits to make it better; the reporter was only landed after extensive group discussion over media contacts. Nothing is done in a vacuum when you are part of a successful team. Your personal results are the team’s results, good or bad.


2)    Use “We” instead of “I.”

Such a small change, but so very important. When communicating successes to clients, be sure to use terminology like “the team” and “we” to give credit to all players involved. It also reminds your client of all the people pulling for, and working on, their business.


3)    Communicate work in progress.

This is such a big one. Keep the team updated on your individual assignment progress when working on a larger initiative. If you are not going to meet a deadline, reach out and tell your team what’s going on and why. Best rule of thumb? Over-communicate. Better to be on the same page, even if it’s not the one you want, rather than no page at all.


4)    Have each other’s backs.

It’s really that simple. You are there for a teammate in need, and they will be there for you too. There is no team if you all don’t have trust in each other, and put yourselves on the line when necessary.


5)   Never get too big for your britches.

Sure, it’s easy to pull rank when you are the seasoned veteran on the team, but we all learn from each other. If something needs to be done, no matter how menial the task, just do it. It is especially important to step up to the plate if you are the one that has time on your hands, while everyone else is drowning in work. Everyone likes, and respects, someone that can get in the trenches, no matter his or her level.

After all, PR is ultimately a service, which means you have to do what needs to be done to make the client happy. But, it’s never that hard to accomplish when you work as a team. In fact, it can be kind of fun.