During our induction week, we were told that one of the key qualities that employers look for in any candidate is teamwork. Employers believe that since most students are used to working individually on projects, they do not learn the many qualities that working in groups may teach you; such as empathy, being flexible with working methods, punctuality, working around each other’s strengths and more. Therefore, Imperial College Business School encourages a lot of in-class group discussions and several assessments that are based on groupwork.
I have learnt over time that working in groups may not always be a piece of cake. It often depends on how lucky you are to find those that compliment your personality, how flexible team members are and how willing they are to bend a knee. However, whether or not you like it, if you want to succeed in getting the role of your choice, at a firm of your dreams, you must learn to be a team player.
There is nothing to worry about if working in groups is something you are not great at or feel uncomfortable with. My top five tips as mentioned below will help you work more efficiently as part of a group.
Tip #1 Familiarise yourself with others in your group
At your very first group meeting, try having a quick introduction round. Discuss where are you are all from, what cuisines you all like, any sport you follow, and any other hobbies. Research has proven that discussing personal topics and opening up about what you feel and like often improves relationships and creates a sense of security.
Tip #2 Get to know everyone’s work pattern
Your group members may be from different educational backgrounds, have different hours of the day that they function best, they may work best indoors or outdoors, or like using paper or an electronic device for planning. Similarly, while one may be a leader, some may be better at coordinating work, and others at delegating.
Thus, it is key to discuss and understand everyone’s work pattern, the part they play in a team setting and formulise certain rules in agreement with everyone. This will allow for everything to work smoothly and for your submissions to be made within the given deadline.
Tip #3 Go for meals together
Not only will going for meals together allow for a change in environment, reduce stress and increase creative thinking, but will also allow for you and your team to bond – which is essential for harmony and efficiency in work.
Tip #4 Bend a knee sometimes
Difference in opinions are a common issue in groups. Give each member of the group an equal chance to assert their opinion and reasoning, take a vote if there is confusion and if the matter is still unresolved, it may sometimes require you bend a knee and allow the other members to make the final call. You never know – it may work in favour of your grades!
Tip #5 Talk it out face-to-face
Often group politics rots the chance of great friendships and efficiency of work. Therefore, whenever you have an issue with a group member, it is best to first discuss it with them in-person, instead of being consumed by rumours. You never know it may just be a misunderstanding.
Most of all, enjoy every bit of your time with your group. You never know… it may be the start of a great friendship, just like mine with my group!