Working in a group for a university project doesn’t always go as smoothly as you would like. For someone like myself who is a firm believer of: ‘if you want something done, do it yourself’, I always found it challenging collaborating with others and loosening the reins of my controlling nature. I can’t even count how many times I wanted to hit my head against a wall because I felt like I was doing all the work in a group project. But that was because deep down I wanted to do it all myself, I feared other’s contributions may compromise my own grade and was selfish with the workload. I soon learnt that it’s not until you give up your ego and open yourself up to teamwork, that you can truly thrive in group projects.
I was eventually awakened to the benefits of working in a group and began to see that there really is no I in team; collaboration holds the key to success. And thus a teams collective performance can be greater than the sum of its member’s individual performance. However, this is not a sure thing! The synergistic benefits of working in a group requires effective teamwork, of which I have learnt over the last 3 years at uni.
Here are what I consider the 3 most important factors that contribute to effective teamwork, ultimately helping you to get those all-important grades!
Planning is critical to effective teamwork, it will provide you with direction and help to coordinate your work for efficient task completion. Its’ important to understand each team members strengths and ways of working, assigning roles and tasks that work in the best interests of the group. By ensuring that there is a shared understanding of each member’s responsibility and accountability for their tasks within agreed deadlines, improved levels of work are the result.
- Agility and Collaboration
No project group is going to have it plain sailing, you are going to encounter obstacles and minor conflicts. An effective team overcomes these obstacles by being flexible in their approach, being able to adapt to changing conditions, and seeking opportunities to leverage each other’s talents. It’s about remembering that your results are a collective effort to reach a common goal.
This is the element that I struggled with the most. But it’s so important to focus on your own task while leaving your team members to focus on their tasks, thus optimising efforts. This demonstrates a trust of capability, creating a space for innovation which ultimately gives you a competitive advantage. Trust can also be sustained through trust of communication, where transparent dialogue enables open and honest communication, and trust of character by having faith that members will behave as expected and will do what they say they will do.
Trust, teamwork, collaboration are all valuable skills to learn and I for one will be much more comfortable handing over the reins in the future.