At the core of my college's Game Studio program is a series of rigorous, project-based, interdisciplinary courses, which all four years of our degrees require. We cultivate an environment where talented, aspiring game artists, designers, programmers and producers can work together and develop new games. One of the many benefits of this approach is that it requires students to discover the value of building soft skills, not simply learning how to use professional software and apply development methods. Some students have a harder time than others for different reasons.
Even the most talented individuals often fall into the same trap. I call this trap the "cult of me."
"As hard as I try, I still don't seemed valued" - Inexperienced Beginner
It is obviously essential to improve yourself as an individual, and this endeavor leads to a lot of reflection and focus on one's own reputation and self-identity. As students focus on themselves, they often don't recognize the connection between being overly self-centered and the reputation they develop amongst their peers. While it is not unusual for students to make some time management misestimations or technical mistakes on their first couple of team projects, there are other factors that often affect their team-mates' opinions of them. After getting battered and bruised in postmortems, they endeavor to change their ways and make necessary corrections to their beginner-related shortcomings, yet some still fail to satisfy a key aspect of teamwork.
Even after they resolve common issues regarding executive skills (time-management or technical short-comings) often, despite putting forth a great deal of effort to prove themselves to their team-mates, they still have a reputation for not contributing enough to team. Some even get feedback that they seem disconcerned and disconnected from their team. This can, in worst cases, lead very talented individuals to either "give up" and just do the bare minimum and/or emotionally disengage from their team projects and focus on their own seperate endeavors and skill building (which only creates a vicious cycle.)
"What more can I possibly do to prove myself?" - Inexperienced Beginner
It is common for young, aspiring game-makers to engage in this trap of focusing so intently on this trap of focusing so intently on gathering information, skills, and identifying who they are and who they want to be, that they fail to realize one of the most beneficial things they can do. This is to stop focusing so intently on themselves, and instead, make efforts to reach out and offer to help others. When you help others you learn new skills and build important new connections that will improve your work and the skills of your team.
"Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, 'What's in it for me?'" - Brian Tracy
If individuals take this idea to heart, and genuinely use it to adjust their approach, it will result in improving their reputation and instill a new healthy habit to their individual practice. By framing work not soleley as a way to advance as an individual, but as a way to lift all those around you, it demonstrates character and forms the basis of an effective leadership skill-set and will certainly result in being "one of the team." By helping others, you help yourself.