"Mind your attitude. Your attitude matters. It matters a lot. You need to be someone that people want to collaborate with."
- Michelle McGregor, Actor/Comedian/Producer
Michelle was spot on when she shared this advice with our audience. She understands that filmmaking is about bringing people together in a way that maximizes their collective potential. Every cog in the wheel and every link in the chain is just as important as the next, making synergy a fundamental key to success.
So what does it mean to mind your attitude? Well, I took that to mean that you need to prove that you're a team player. Being a team player doesn't just mean showing up to play. It's far more than that. It means that you demonstrate all of the characteristics of collaboration and that you're in it not just for yourself, but for the success of the team.
Here are six key characteristics that demonstrate that you're a team player:
1. You Understand Your Role
As a team member, you have to understand your role within the team and the specific responsibilities that come with that role. Your primary job is to carry out those responsibilities to the best of your ability from the moment you sign up. Now, that doesn't mean that you work with blinders on. It's also important that you understand how others impact or are impacted by your role so that you can offer help or solutions to other team members. However, you have to respect the boundaries of your position by knowing when it's appropriate to give advice versus direction.
2. You Hold Yourself Accountable
Understanding your role is just the tip of the iceberg, or the duck floating on top of the water. The real work is what's below the surface. Holding yourself accountable means fulfilling your responsibilities without the watchful eye of someone else and committing to recognizing, admitting to, and correcting any mistakes you make along the way. Holding yourself accountable is one of the primary ways to earn respect from your team because it demonstrates that you can be trusted.
3. You Welcome Collaboration
Working with a team means that you will encounter varying opinions and ideas, all of which deserve to be heard. Collaboration means listening, understanding, and considering those ideas so that the team can make decisions on how best to move forward. This may mean that you give or take constructive criticism, make compromises, or find creative ways to solve new challenges. Through it all, you have to be willing to work with your team and never against it.
4. You Are Flexible
As they say, "The one constant is change." Filmmaking isn't a series of pre-planned events; it's the amalgamation of genuine efforts towards achieving a common vision. Things are bound to change. It's important to remain flexible and to have the ability to adapt to unforeseen challenges and opportunities. It is also key to learn from the mistakes you make and to be flexible enough to turn those lessons into future successes.
5. You Have a Positive Attitude
As Rev. Jesse Jackson once said, "It's your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your altitude." People want to be around those who make them feel good about themselves and the work that they are doing. Having a positive attitude means offering words of inspiration and affirmation, working towards solutions (not wallowing in problems), and always considering the best interests of those around you. A positive attitude is forward focused and maintains hope and belief in the collective vision of success.
6. You Commit to the Team
This characteristic illustrates one of our fundamental principles: "No mercenaries". As a team player, you have to commit to the work, to the team, and to the end goals of the project. You have to invest the time and effort that is needed to support the team, not just your own personal ambitions. To achieve this, you must believe in what you're doing as well as in the people around you.
To reiterate what Michelle said, "Mind your attitude. Your attitude matters. It matters a lot. You need to be someone that people want to collaborate with." This reminds me of the Maya Angelou quote: “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Be the type of person that makes others feel good about who they are and what they are doing and you'll always find new collaborators to work with.
If you want to know more about the marvelous Michelle McGregor and find out what greatness she's up to lately, please check her out at https://www.kmichellemcgregor.com.
Be Better. Be Creative. Be Engaged.