While attending Idaho State University’s College of Business, your professors will likely assign group projects. These projects aim to give you more experience working in a team environment because most jobs require working as a group. Therefore, it is important you get used to working effectively as a team. But how does one work effectively?
In every group you are a part of, communication is the key to success. Every member must be able to communicate their thoughts, ideas, opinions and feelings as well as actively listen to others. Communicating well with each other allows you to collaborate and work better together to reach your common goal. For group members who are more shy, try to encourage them to speak their minds by making the environment comfortable and letting them know that there are no wrong answers or judgments. It is important everyone gets the chance to speak. Make sure that one or a few members are not taking control of the conversation. Take turns, offer feedback and always try to be nice and stay positive.
If an argument or disagreement happens, this is where talking with each other is most effective. If you are having trouble resolving a conflict or are not sure where to begin, read How to Effectively Resolve a Conflict.
Understand strengths and weaknesses
Every person has strengths and weaknesses. If you can understand each other, you can distribute work and roles in a way that focuses more on strengths. Someone’s strength might be your weakness, which means you get the best of both worlds. When everyone works with their strengths, productivity can increase. However, this does not mean you should only do work that caters to your strengths. By doing something related to your weakness, you can learn more and slowly improve. Over time, that weakness could become a strength.
Clarify and agree on roles and responsibilities
Along with the communication step, your group should talk through assigning roles and responsibilities. You can do this by creating a team contract. A team contract is a document that clarifies responsibilities and serves as a mutual agreement between members to fulfill these duties. You can include a signature line to make it more serious, but this may not be needed as long as you work together to make the contract. This document is also a good way to stay organized and serves as a foundation when it comes to starting a project or job. Not only should you include roles, but also what is expected, your strengths and weaknesses, due dates, schedules, contact information and what consequences will happen if these rules are broken.
Build trust and get to know each other
It is important to go past the surface level and build relationships, which also helps establish trust and friendliness. If this is your first time working together, things might start off a bit awkward. Break the ice and get to know everyone. Ask questions and search for commonalities. You can spend time outside of work to build friendships. The better you know each other, the easier it will be to work together and have trust.
Set clear goals
It is a must to agree on a common goal, as well as individual goals. Goals are something you can also add to your team contract. Having goals also helps guide members with deadlines and stay on the same page. Individual goals can be different than the overall because it is specific to roles. Therefore, you can create these as a team but also by yourself. Making your own personal goals can help you stay on track.
It is important to know how to work effectively as a team, not only at school but at your job. Always communicate with each other, learn strengths and weaknesses, set up roles and responsibilities by creating a team contract, build trust and relationships and set clear goals as a team. These are only a few tips; there are many more you can learn and use. Every team environment is different, but following these steps should serve as a good starting point.