Team projects can break your company or they can be a breakthrough for your company. As a college soccer player, I had been on a team for the majority of my life, but it wasn’t until college that I realized how great working with a team is, especially off the field. Beyond the actual sports aspect of my team, I learned a lot about the dynamics of a team that can be applied to any group collaboration. Some of the best life skills I’ve learned have come from my experience working with others. Here are a few tips to help make any team experience a great one!
- Cooperation. This is one of the most important skills I've developed. Working with others requires compromise, in order to work together successfully it is crucial to acknowledge that you will not always get what you want. A group of people working towards one goal will often need to devise a plan of action to reach their goal and creating a plan means a lot of give and take between team members. A team won’t get anything done if team members are unwilling to give up on some of their own ideas for the betterment of the group.
- Clear objectives. When working with others it is extremely important to make a clear path for action with deadlines so everyone is on the same page. Making clear objectives for each team member also helps eliminate confusion and will help each team member understand where to start working.
- Handling different personalities. Collaborating with different personalities can be challenging, especially when you don’t “click” with every team member. However, it is important to remember that not every team member is going to be easy to work with and that dealing with personalities that don’t always mesh is part of team work.
- Responsibility to others. A major aspect of working with a team is the ability to rely on others to do their part, but in return, it is just as important to make sure you do yours. Holding yourself accountable to your team members requires you to take responsibility for your actions and how they will affect the team.
- Expanding your network. Although team members may not always be your best friends, they can be helpful resources for future projects. After working together, you’ve hopefully made a connection with your team members that will allow you to have a reciprocal helping relationship in the future.
- Constructive criticism. One of the best parts of working with others is the multiple perspectives team members can offer. Although constructive criticism is sometimes challenging to both receive and deliver, it can be beneficial to hear what kinds of advice people have to offer when you’re unsure of something.
After being a part of a team for so many years, I’ve had to hone these skills for the success of everyone involved. But these skills have continued to be useful in a variety of settings, including academics, general workplace manners, interviews, and any professional interactions I’ve encountered.
I would not have had the opportunity to learn these skills and benefit from the help of others had I not been working with a team. Though working with a team can be difficult, especially with a “I like to do things my way” mentality, there is something to be learned from working with others.
Photo Credit: Photo by Emily Mendes.