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Wildlife and fisheries professionals are generally “loners.” Most often, we get into the profession because we love not only the outdoors, but also the solitude often associated with our job. And most universities perpetuate that by the way we’re educated – usually not as teams, but as individuals. Even when we occasionally have team projects, it’s easier to do it ourselves than to coordinate with the group. And the height of frustration is when some other team members don’t do their part.
But employers really like team players. They like not only people who can put a team together and lead it effectively (by getting along well and keeping everyone motivated), but when the situation arises, that same person being able to serve as a team player with someone else in charge.
Why do employers like team players? First, when a few people from different backgrounds tackle a problem, they bring the greatest body of knowledge, experience and skills to the task. Second, it costs less in the long run, because there is less need for trial and error – somebody on the team has probably been there, done that. And thirdly, the end product is more widely accepted because more people are involved – thus more “buy-in.”