My first two years of college it was group work. I hated it! I always felt it was easier to account for my work alone. The lack of control over whether everyone agreed on an idea, contributed equally and met the deadlines bothered me.
Then I interviewed for my first internship and answered the question that changed my thought process on whole matter: When have you exceeded expectations? I told my future supervisor about the time I worked longer on a final group project, simply because I had more availability in my schedule than my peers. Saying that aloud made me realize working as part of a team is just as much about finding a way to make it work for you individually as it is about contributing to the overall team and its success.
My last two years of college I focused on the following dos and don’ts to make the most out of working as part of a team:
-Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion/suggest for an alternative way of completing a task
-Don’t be afraid to ask questions
-Don’t bite off more than you can chew
-Do ask for extra work if you can handle it
-Do talk to teammates if you feel they aren’t pulling their weight
-Do talk to a supervisor/professor if you feel an issue cannot be resolved between you and your coworkers / peers
While a lot of these things seem like no brainers, it is easy to get so wrapped up in frustrations that you lose sight of the task at hand. Therefore, knowing your personal preferences and figuring out how to make working with others comfortable for you will allow you to contribute your very best work to the team.
The author of this article is Adrians Cleveland, who is a public relations professional from Indianapolis, Ind. Cleveland earned her BA in Journalism from Butler University in May 2010. She recently began working for the Indiana Chapter of the ALS Association. Previously, Cleveland interned for Publicis Indianapolis, the American Legion Auxiliary (national headquarters), and So Others Might Eat (SOME). Follow her on Twitter via @AdriansPR.