Being a college student, odds are high that you have had your fair share of team projects and working with others in your major. Teams are an essential part of most professional careers. At one point or another most jobs require some form of teamwork, therefore the importance of working well in a group setting is undeniable.
There is definitely a difference between an effective team where all the members are pulling their weight and one where a few individuals are carrying the rest on their backs. Being a team player is crucial in most work environments. Collaboration is a common occurrence in today's work force. How can you make the most of your collaborative efforts?
Here are some strategies to effectively collaborate with others in the workplace:
Check your ego at the door. Often stated, rarely executed, a core tenant of good teamwork is trading personal ego for group success. Teams are, by definition, formed to be greater than the sum of their parts, and bringing egos into the equation never helps that process.
Specify roles. A great team is a combination of specialists who individually are exceptional at specific areas, and together create a formidable group. Make sure to identify individual strengths and clarify roles based on those strengths to maximize efficiency and output.
Communicate frequently and openly. Much has been written on the virtues of proper communication. Simply put, listen well, communicate more not less, seek to understand everyone’s perspective not just your own, and address misunderstandings sooner rather than later.
Respect others. Though at first this may seem an obvious principle of great teamwork, the idea of respect extends not just to other individuals of a team but also their ideas. Ideas that at first seem silly or ineffectual may turn out to be useful with a change of perspective or further analysis.
Remain accountable. Every individual in a team must take responsibility for their duties, and therefore remain accountable for them. Meet deadlines and acknowledge mistakes instead of making excuses or shirking responsibilities.
Much has been written on the subject of teamwork and collaboration. The above are just a handful of areas to focus on when trying to improve collaboration skills. Look online for further resources on the topic as you build your repertoire of soft skills.