Projects and Working Well with Others
One of the key skills to learn in all levels of education and at work starts at the elementary level. How to work well with others, or more accurately, how to get along with others is one of the most important things you’ll ever learn. All aspects of communication are based on this; it may sound a little strange, but it’s essential because it can help you in so many ways- the more friendly you are, the more co-workers that remember you positively will work with you in the future- especially while working on group projects.
We all have had group projects at some point – and there’s always someone that you would rather not work with, or others who seem to take the largest share of the work (or the credit) to compensate for a teammate who doesn’t contribute as much. (The last one is tricky: there are many reasons for less contribution to the project: too much going on project-wise; too little time, as an example.)
I speak of projects as a general “how to work well with others”, but this is the best demonstration I can think of. You have those who take too much, and those who take too little. Both of these are particularly annoying. This is not always ideal when it comes to a project of a strict guideline and expected result, but can be handy to know. Therefore, you should work with your strengths: public speaking as compared to research, as an example
You can talk within the project about splitting the tasks fairly, such as one person doing the research, another doing the presentation in front of the class, and another doing the organization/expanding on the research into the presentation. Of course I am speaking very generally, but it does give you an idea of splitting large tasks into more manageable pieces.
What of the people whose personalities clash? Compromise is the second key thing here, and can be very useful. Allow the option of doing something that you don’t like to do so that someone else can do something they want. It helps to get along fluidly, as compared to groups who have no cooperation between members. This leaves an opportunity for people to try an option they didn’t take previously on the next project, or with the same group, and leads to a better understanding of one another.
Time management was a key frustration for me – everybody has different strengths and schedules. Therefore, flexibility is the final key skill for getting along with others, and deadlines should be flexible where possible. There are always ‘hard’ deadlines, when projects need to be completed by a due date no matter what, and ‘soft’ deadlines, when sections of a project should be completed so the next stage can begin. By allowing a flexible task date, another team member can start their task preparing the verbal presentation while the first person is finishing up the typed presentation. This is only an example, but I think you can figure out the benefits.
By thinking outside of the box, compromising, and allowing for flexibility, you can learn how to work well with others. It makes the work go more quickly, and new friends are always welcome.