The Adventure of Teamwork

Posted July 29th, 2009 by missrunningstart and filed in Relationships, Student to Student
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Teamwork: Working with others to accomplish a task

Working as a team can help make a big project easier to complete, but it can also make the project more complicated.

Last spring quarter, in Sociology 110, I worked with close friends on a project that lasted all quarter. The only problem was that the group was too large (7 people). This meant that some people initially were given no meaningful work to do while others felt they were carrying the burden of the work.

Working as a team (even when you get to choose the team members) can be very difficult. Sometimes there are disagreements regarding who should lead the team. At other times there are miscommunications regarding how the work should be accomplished. And sometimes there is a team member who acts as though she/he doesn’t need to do any work, but can simply ride on the work of others.

Working with close friends can generate even more tension and unnecessary drama because social issues other than the project at hand can distract the group. Because of this, it can be better to choose acquaintances rather than close friends when assembling a team. Acquaintances are less likely to bring in superfluous issues to the team process.

Although working as a team can be very frustrating, it can also produce results that would never have been accomplished by one person. Greater variety of perspective and work approaches can produce a more creative result. Team members with special expertise such as graphic design, video production, songwriting, choreography, spreadsheet design, software development, object lesson and speech skills can add creative elements that would not be present without their involvement.

However, even when the result is not a better one, the process has merit as a learning experience because it simulates the teamwork that may be needed or expected by a future employer.

Personally, I have had very mixed experiences with teamwork. At times I’ve had to stand by in a presentation while some individuals took credit for work they didn’t do and at other times as with the sociology project, each member of the team was commended by faculty for work well done. So today, while I prefer to work solo, I can speak to how the team process has helped me grow as a student and individual