What is Teamwork/Collaboration?
Teamwork is “the combined action of a group of people, especially when effective and efficient” and collaboration is “the action of working with someone to produce or create something.” As you can see teamwork and collaboration go hand in hand, it is hard to have good teamwork skills without also having good collaboration skills. There both require having the skills necessary to work well with others. Working with others is an extremely important part of life, it is something you will have to do for the rest of your life. Many of you experience it now in group work and group projects and you will continue to experience it throughout college and in your future carriers working with your fellow coworkers. So, what are some skills necessary to become better at collaboration and teamwork?
Communicate: Communication is one of the key components to working well with others. You need to be able to express your ideas and opinions within the group. Also be able to properly communicate with your fellow teammates about tasks and responsibilities. If you have poor communication, it is going to be hard for your team to work with you and it will be hard for you to complete your fair share of the work.
Listen: Working well with others also involves listening, although communicating is important you do not want to dominate the conversation. If you are constantly talking and not letting anyone else get a word in, you will be taking over the group and not allowing others to express their ideas and opinions. It is important to listen to what others have to say because they might have a great idea that you never would have thought of. The more ideas that get put on the table, the easier it will be to find the right one. You would want others to listen to what you have to say, so have that same respect for them.
Don’t Have A Big Ego: Thinking that you are better or smarter than everyone else in your group is not a good way to start when working with others. It is important to treat everyone with an equal amount of respect and understand that they have things to offer that you might not have. No one is better than anyone else, we all have our own traits that make us unique and different.
Constructive Criticism: Being able to give people constructive criticism can improve the group work as a whole and help that person improve individually. If you know someone is doing something wrong or you know of a way to do that same thing more efficiently its okay to say it. Just be sure you are being nice about it; it is never helpful to tear someone down. Tell them what they are doing wrong nicely and explain to them how they could be doing it better. In return give positive feedback when they do something that you think is good. Tell them when you think they expressed a good idea or gave a good contribution to the group.
Delegation: When working with others it is important to make sure everyone is doing what they are best at to get the best result. If you decide that Tim is going to be doing the writing part of the assignment, but Tim hates writing and has never been very good at it. You will not have a very good result for your project. If someone does not have any interest in what they are doing, they will likely not produce very good results. It is important to figure out within the group what everyone’s strengths and weaknesses are so you can properly assign different parts of the project to get the best outcome.
Participate: Part of working well with others is everyone doing an equal amount of work. Allowing one person to do all the work is not fair to them. You have other people on your team for a reason, to make the project easier so one person does not have to do all the work. If you split all the work up eventually it will be a lot easier to complete a well-constructed project. You wouldn’t want to be the one stuck doing all the work so be sure to do your fair share.
Be Helpful: If you see someone else in your group struggling, ask them if they need help. It is only going to have a negative affect on the group if you allow someone to continue when you know they are struggling to complete their responsibilities. Take the time to help them better understand what they need to be doing.