Unity creates strength: how to do group works without dying in the process
It is Monday morning and you are daydreaming when suddenly a ringing voice goes up: “Pay attention!” The wake-up call brings you back to the harsh reality. You must do a group work with three schoolmates with whom you do not get along particularly well.
It has barely been ten hundredths of second and you are already deeply engaged in the first group meeting almost without realising it. You try to take advantage of the last minutes of class allowed by the teacher in order to organise yourselves. Well, there is nothing far from reality.
That first approach with your work team bears a close resemblance to a street scene where a cluster of pigeons pounce on an innocent worm. The vibe surrounding this moment could also be compared to that of a Barça- Real Madrid football match during the penalty shoot-out. There is little time for second thoughts as the bell rings and the meeting has to be postponed.
The two sides of a group work
A group work, just like a coin, has two sides. On one hand, the bad side which could be dubbed as the #runforyourlife side and is known for stinking of tension, lack of organization and irresponsibility. This side can look like a lumber yard as, sooner or later, one of the members in the group gets lumbered with the whole work.
STOP! Now it is the moment to take a walk on the good side, where it is all about an efficient team getting better results in a shorter period of time. The reason why this happens is that work quality increases when different experiences, life stories and points of view meet and, as a result, it exceeds any team member’s individual work.
What is the key to work well in a team?
We could take into consideration multiple factors, but the most needed one is without hesitation a good communication, both among the members in the group and in respect of the diverse tasks to be undertaken. In clearer terms, we need a “coordinated group”. In fact, we can take measure of how important it can be by the increasing number of companies that include group dynamics in the staff selection process in order to ensure that applicants meet enough social skills to communicate and get along with collective tasks.
After this introduction, let us get to the point. In order to set up an efficient team, it is necessary to keep in mind the following aspects:
The choice of a leader
As well as there must be a class representative or a spokesperson in your class, a group needs someone who will manage its coordination. Some of his main duties are the group’s leadership, to meet the members’ needs and guarantee the coordination among them for the sake of its proper functioning.
Drafting of the action plan
It is advisable to draft an action plan in order to establish the following points:
- Goals, i.e. what you are trying to accomplish with your work. Review together the results expected by your teacher. Do not forget that all of you are a group and by group I mean one, not two, not three, not infinite.
Despite your disagreements, you share the same goal. Trying to step on the others or bragging about your personal achievements and ideas does not make sense, given that all of you are winning when one of your group partners does it and the same applies if one of them loses. You all are kicking the ball into the same goal, so Hello, Cooperation; goodbye Competitiveness.
- Scheduling tasks: it is time for dividing up the cake in equal parts (or at least almost equal ones). To split up work multiplies the results. You got it!
- Allocating tasks: use this process to refine and take advantage of the diversity a group can offer you naturally. Where possible, try to assign tasks to each person according to their own particular interests. A motivated group working with passion boosts productivity.
- Deadlines, including both the official dates and the dates fixed by our work group. It is time for calling Jimmy Cricket to ask for help to strengthen your consciousness and responsibility. It is all about meetings, whether in-person ones or non-contact ones. If your schedule does not allow you to coincide in space-time, you can make use of the new technologies, such as editing tools to edit documents online without the need to arrange a face-to-face meeting.
Implementation of the work plan
Once we have ensured the aforementioned aspects, it is the moment for giving the starting signal and carry out the action plan. At this stage, the sense of commitment and responsibility of every team member plays an essential role. It is said that the whole is more than the sum of its parts, but these parts are necessary so that this whole can be terrifically good. Now is the time to do one’s duty. All for one and one for all!
What to do when issues arise
Before concluding, I wanted to remind you that, in real life, there are no clear-cut instructions and not everything goes smoothly. There can be “live issues”. Something unexpected nearly always happens. In that case, do not panic. Signal with your SOS whistle and turn on the “thinking heads mode” in order to brainstorm together. Do not worry if you left your umbrella at home, you will only need to dress up your attitude with your best clothes and keep it open and proactive, honoured with a golden medal of Tolerance. You are more than ready now! Finally, let me give you a tip: compliment others. Instead of getting angry about ideas that are not your cup of tea, let everyone else know the proposals you like by encouraging the person who voiced them and contributing to keep a participative atmosphere.
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Images source: https://pixabay.com/en
Artículo traducido: Víctor López Virgos
Artículo original: Ana Domínguez Morán