Team vs. Leader: Why Should They Want You on Their Team?


By Tehmina Mirza, AmeriCorps Community Engagement Assistant & Computer Literacy Instructor

greatestThe ability to “read someone” can help discern a person’s intention and their capabilities. This principle applies to company leaders, who will try to read you as an applicant. They will be searching not just for a set of skills but for an individual who will add value to their team.

Why would a company hire a team member who didn’t display strong leadership qualities? We all have to show leadership in different aspects of our lives but also take sort of a step down when working as a team to compromise with other team members’ decisions.

In government organizations or in the military where rank officially rules, it’s a different story. As you climb and gain rank, you technically become the named leader of a team. Many corporations have this kind of mentality, whether they officially identify it or not. Essentially, your chance of joining the ranks of “leaders” boils down to your knowledge and your ability to understand the other leaders and company culture well. How do you do that?

In interviews or at networking events, have your “elevator pitch” ready and also ask:

  • What are you looking for in a employee?
  • What would it take to perform this job well?
  • What is your ideal candidate for the position?

Asking these questions can quickly help you see whether or not you will fit into a company’s culture. It will take the guessing out of the game for them and you.

In the meantime, balance leadership with being an integral piece of your team puzzle. In time, you should be able to lead any team by weaving together your team members’ strengths – that’s the mark of a true leader.


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