No matter what you’re studying or where you want to work, collaboration will play a big part. As you complete JC, you’ll probably have seen your fair share of group projects and presentations, and wondered why it just worked out with some people and didn’t with others.
It’s not magic or something you can put down to “our personalities just meshed/clashed”. Working together is a science, and it’s possible to crack it and get better at it. Here’s how:
1. Listen to others
Actively listening to your teammates
is the first step to better teamwork. Pay attention to their concerns, body
language, or any cues about what they may be feeling or thinking. And don’t be
afraid to ask about what you don’t understand!
Remember that listening is just the
first step. Show your dedication to making the team work by following up on
what you heard, be it through offering assistance or getting something in
place. Even a “checking in” call or message is appreciated by many.
2. Offer help
Some people make the mistake of only
completing what’s assigned to them during group work. This gives others the
impression that they are lazy and simply looking to cover their own bases.
Instead, actively offer to help and
get involved. When you have finished your portion, look at your teammates and
offer to assist anyone who is struggling. In fact, a simple “is there anything
I can help with?” goes a long way.
3. Congratulate others
Be happy for your teammate’s
achievements as well as your own – you’re all working together, after all. It
pays to be generous and think of others by celebrating their ups and
commiserating with their downs.
Your behaviour will contribute to
fostering a giving, collaborative culture within the team. And soon, you will
find that others celebrate your victories as well.
4. Commit to the team
When things are going badly, don’t
look for a way to escape or shift responsibility to someone else. Too often, we
feel that the problems the team faces are someone else’s fault and hence, are
not motivated to do anything about them.
Remember that whatever project
you’re on, you and the team will be finishing it together. So, be prepared to
put in more work to resolve conflicts and make deadlines when things get tough.
5. Actively work to solve problems
Don’t wait for problems to catch up
to you – actively work on them. Try to spot issues before they blow up and
diffuse them firsthand.
For example, if two team members
have clashing work styles, don’t wait for them to argue. Try talking to them
separately first or suggesting they work on different parts of the project to
diffuse the tension.
Commit to being a better team player and you will soon enjoy the benefits of great teamwork – smoother projects, better solutions and fast friends!
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