Today’s blog is not going to be beauty related, but life related. Whether you’re in uni, college, school, or even working, at some point in your life you must have worked within a group or a team, or is going to in the nearby future. As a graduate in the business school, I have had my fair share of working with others, in fact, almost all of my bachelor’s and master’s degrees have been filled with group work, and today I will share my advice and experience to hopefully help you cope with working with others.
- Creating a group.
I am aware that in many cases you don’t have the privilege of picking who you work with, but in some cases you do have that option. My first advice is, NEVER WORK WITH FRIENDS!
Ok let me be more clear, in my experience working with friends could be really challenging, you might be compatible in somethings like sharing interests and hanging out, but incompatible in others like working on a graded project together. Another point on working with friends is, friends know you sometimes ‘too well’, so unintentionally take advantage of your strengths and weaknesses. For example, if you are known for not speaking up, then they will take advantage of being late, or not doing the work in time, or even changing aspects of the project without your consent.
Although this doesn’t necessarily happen in all cases, I’ve worked with friends previously on multiple projects, some went really bad and some went really good. Just keep in mind, if you did have the choice of picking your group members, to be careful with who you pick and know their abilities as well, not to take advantage of it, but to know that you will not end up doing the entire project alone. As well, be more open-minded in working with people you’re never previously worked with before,
Finally, picking a leader. I don’t like assigning leadership roles because I think we are all mature enough to take responsibilities in the roles and tasks we’ve agreed to take on, but it is still important to assign this role. Or at least someone who will be responsible for combining all the separate parts together, checking everything needed to be done is completed and making sure everything is done on time.
- Dealing with different personalities.
After picking your group members, or you’ve been assigned to a group, make sure that you all talk about the ways you work. For example, I’ve worked with a person who did their best work at night, I, on the other hand, work best in the morning, an hour after waking up. When discussing such things, it will make it clearer and easier to plan and discuss the best ways to work, communicate, and share documents and files. Along with that, people have different personalities and characters, make sure you understand each other and allow each other to express and share opinions and thoughts. Be open minded and open hearted when working with others, being understanding will help problem solving and avoid any misunderstandings.
- Speak up.
This one might be a challenge to many, but trust me, speak your mind and start getting used to that feeling. You have the right to your thoughts and opinions, never hide them when it comes to anything that has an impact on you, whether it’s in academic work or in general. I’ve always been a person who would speak my mind, so my only advice would be think before saying anything, take a deep breath, and go for it.
- Be honest, share your strengths and weaknesses.
Never feel ashamed of not knowing something, or not knowing how to do something. You’re clearly there to learn and gain skills and knowledge, so share what you know and don’t know with your group members to divide the work fairly and equally, while learning the things you didn’t know.
Have an open and clear communication, pick a way you all agree to communicate the best. Almost all my groups have been communicated through Whatsapp and Google Docs, so naturally I would recommend these tools for now, both are free to use, and simple.
If you’re working with people coming from different backgrounds and languages, be mindful and patient when dealing with them. It could be frustrating at times, but as an international student myself, I might be fluent in English but I am fully aware that many international students going to different countries seeking a higher education struggle, as it is a very hard and brave step to take. So be mindful, be easy and as clear as you possibly can.
I hope these tips help you improve your experience in working in groups, I know it’s almost impossible to have a perfect team or group, but the overall experience is more important. Just remember enjoy every moment.
Take Care, Love,
(Featured Image Source: http://blog.teslontario.org/the-art-of-group-work/)