Notes on Teamwork
While working as a part of a team can be a rewarding experience, it can be extremely frustrating one as well. Dividing up tasks between team members is extremely difficult to do well, and certain members will undoubtedly feel as though they are bearing the weight of the group. Here are some lessons learned (the hard way) about how to work most effectively as a \ group.
- Lesson 1: Be honest and realistic. If you are not able to meet a deadline, make sure to tell inform your teammates ahead of time. Often, one person is able to work on the assigned tasks of another person in the group, but will not be able to do so if he/she does not know that there is the need. As a team member, it is hard to admit that you fell short in a particular area, but it will benefit everyone to inform your team of this shortcoming ahead of time.
- Lesson 2: Being critical is part of being a team member. No one wants to be the person to say that the work of a group is falling short of expectations. However, if everyone is always too positive about what has been completed, nothing will ever be improved. Don’t be shy to step in and point out the need for revision. It is likely that other group members are feeling the same feelings, but don’t want to be “negative”. Remember, be critical and being positive are not mutually exclusive.
- Lesson 3: Dividing tasks too much will yield a subpar work. While dividing research or other assignments is an extremely efficient way to operate, at some point the different members must reunite and combine their efforts. It is often easy to forget that there is only one final product, so it must be cohesive in terms of writing style, formatting, and content. Figuring out how to incorporate separate works into a single, unified entity is extremely challenging.
- Lesson 4: Group self-reflection is necessary. Every group will run into problems during the research and writing process. It is important to address these problems explicitly, rather than conveniently ignore them. Make sure to sit down as a group at least two or three times during the course of the project and reflect on how the group has been operating, and how it can be changed for the better.