There are two words that can send a collective groan around the world: group project. But I promise you group work is not as bad as it sounds. They allow you to learn a lot about yourself and the opportunity to learn from other people. Plus, aren’t two heads better than one?
Collaborative assignments can become pretty daunting but if you approach the group assignment with a positive outlook and a willingness to be a team player, there is no doubt that the group assignment can become a great success.
Here are my seven tips to help you become a master at collaborative group work:
1 – Know Your Role. The old adage goes, “stay in your lane.” I am sure we all would love to take control of the group assignment and do it “our way” but everyone in the group can’t be the leader. When given your defined role for the group, stick with it. Don’t try to take over another person’s task because it sounds more appealing to you.
(Photo via @jenpetrova)
2 – Be A Chameleon. With this in mind, don’t be afraid to take on new roles. Anything can happen when working on a project with a team of people. You may be assigned to be a behind-the-scenes photographer to document the process but you may also be asked to use your amazing make-up skills to fill in for a no-show make-up artist. You never know what curve balls life may hand you so be ready to pull out your secret ninja skills to help the group’s success.
(Photo via @sydneyhelphenstine)
3 – How Do You Communicate? Are you a thinker or a harmonizer? Do you like to lead or are you more of a socializer? When entering a group environment, it’s important to know your communication style and how you can adapt it to fit a diverse group of people.
If you tend to be more of a leader, your direct communication approach might not work on someone who is an introvert. There is power in being aware of your conversation style and being able to adapt it to different personalities so that your ideas can be positively conveyed to everyone in the group.
This quiz can help give you a little insight as to what your communication style is.
(Photo via @sarahgargano29)
4 – Dealing With “Dead Weight.” It’s seems to be inevitable in a collaborative environment to get a teammate who is just not doing their fair share of the work. But before you get upset and kick them off the team, take time to figure out what’s going on. They may have social anxiety in large groups or feel out of place if the group is full of larger personalities.
Pull this person aside and ask them what their interests are and what they love to do. When you can figure out their passions, you can develop a task for them to excel at. It’s not always they they don’t want to work, they may just need a little push to be confident in their skill set so don’t give up on them.
(Photo via @_fashionistajay)
5 – Be Open-Minded. Combining a lot of creative minds in one room, is a recipe for an explosion of ideas. Think tanks are a great way to break the ice because they enable the team to feel comfortable enough to share their ideas. Take time to listen to everyone’s thoughts and think about a potential game plan to make that idea come to fruition. The silliest idea may just be the springboard to an excellent marketing campaign so don’t rule anything out too quick.
(Photo via @glrojewski)
6 – Self-Advocacy. Although, collaborative work is about working for the common-good of the team, don’t hesitate to speak up for what you believe in. It’s important to be true to you. If something doesn’t align with your values or if you don’t agree with an element of the project, say something.
But be logical and direct about what you feel by clearly stating your position and why you believe this. By stating your “why”, team members are more likely to be receptive to finding a solution because you have stated a reason. Be bold and be you, your voice matters.
‘(Photo via @kirameetsworld)
7 – Have Fun! When you enter a team project, come to meeting with the mindset that the project is going to be fun and it will be. More ideas mean a larger opportunity for something great because each member is adding the best part of their skill set into the project. Play music, laugh and enjoy getting to know each other and working together. These groups could be long-lasting relationships for great things to come so embrace them.
(Photo via @leanarae)
What strategies do you use in group projects? Share your tips with us in the comments below!