In many different places in your life you will have to work with a team and learn to become a teamplayer, also at your job. Now, you may really dislike working in a team (lots of people do) or think that you are not good at it, or that other people in the group always ruin it for everyone. However, when you work as a team everybody caries the same amount of responsibility. It is good to invest time in learning how to become a skilled team player, because sometimes your career van even depend on it. Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Exchange ideas
This may sound like a real simple one, but it is often not done properly when people work together. Usually, when you work as a group, everyone has different skills and everyone knows what their job is/what part of the project they are in charge of. But sometimes it is not beneficial to think this way. Just because a person is the best at one thing doesn’t mean that they can’t also be good at another thing, or that they can’t have good opinions and ideas about something outside of their special skill. If you come together to exchange ideas before starting on a new project, and make sure that everyone is heard instead of dividing tasks the way you always divide them, you are more likely to discover some new ideas and talents from time to time.
2. Trust your team
Some people get very suspicious and controlling while working with other people. This may be because of negative experiences in the past, where they felt like they were the only ones doing all the work in a teamwork situation, or where one person didn’t do any work and got everyone else in trouble. However, everyone is grown up now and everybody needs the team in order to accomplish something. This means that you will have to trust each other. Even if you think that someone is lazy or a slacker, at least give them a chance to prove you wrong. Stop doing all the work for a group: divide tasks and trust each other’s skills. If you keep doing other people’s work for them they may think that you don’t mind doing it all, or maybe they are afraid to say anything because they think that you won’t approve of their ideas.
Everyone has a different agenda, and when working as a team one of the things that people get into fights over and that projects fail over is timing. Some people do everything at the very last moment, while others want to get it over with so that they have time to perfection their project before turning it over. It is important to plan all your tasks together. Instead of coming together once a week to discuss what everyone has done, also take the time to plan what has to be finished the next week. You don’t necessarily need to make deadlines, but it can be useful to know when your colleague will be done with a task, in case you need it to further your project. By planning you avoid a lot of misunderstanding and frustration.
4. Know your tasks
Another thing that people often get frustrated over while working in a group is an unclear idea of who is responsible for what. If you don’t make everyone’s tasks clear at the beginning, people may not understand what is expected of them and start having wrong expectations. You avoid a lot of potential tension by making sure that everyone understands what is expected of them. Make sure that you know which things you are in charge of and write everything down, so that you can look it up later, if there is any confusion about it.
With these tips it will be easier to work in a team. They are pretty basic tips, but it is important to realize what you are getting into when you are starting to work with a group. Lots of times things go wrong because people don’t plan in advance or don’t think about how they want to handle the situation.