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Doing it together

November 18, 2017
Illustration by Ahmed Amin
Illustration by Ahmed Amin

How many of you feel irritated when the teacher asks you to work in groups? And that happens a lot of times when you are in school or in college. Most of the times, you don’t even have a choice and you have to work in groups anyways.

Why is it that a lot of us feel and do better while working as individuals rather than a team? Well, there are a lot of reasons. For one thing, it is so uncomfortable to work with people who are not our ‘type’, and at times it is a real pain to put up with certain kinds of people: loud, bossy, lazy, irresponsible and what not.

Sometimes, it is very annoying to work with a group of people who always try to get their own way and never listen to us! The shy and introvert ones among us find it really, really difficult to communicate with a bunch of people and have their say in the group. Some of us simply feel we make better use of our skills as individuals rather than in groups.

work with a group of people who always try to get their own way and never listen to us! The shy and introvert ones among us find it really, really difficult to communicate with a bunch of people and have their say in the group. Some of us simply feel we make better use of our skills as individuals rather than in groups.

At times, there are personal conflicts among people in a group that makes it difficult for them to work together. True, it becomes really difficult to work in groups, what with so many problems and no way to avoid them. But you can definitely learn to work along with them, although it is quite challenging.

‘Teamwork’ is a terminology that is now becoming more and more important in many areas of life, most importantly workplaces where good team workers are highly valued. When you leave school and go out into the world, you will find that cooperating with other people and working with them is highly essential, in fact, a necessary condition for your ‘survival’.

You see, human beings are social animals and nobody is an island. In every area of our life, we depend on each other to fulfil our needs. And so we must know the art of dealing with other people and working with them. Research has shown that when people work together and share their problems with each other, and display what is known as ‘team spirit’, it has a positive effect on an individual’s performance.

School life that gives us many opportunities to become better team workers. Teamwork can yield remarkable results, not only on the output of the team but on our own abilities as well if only we learn to step outside our comfort zone.

Here I will share with you some benefits of teamwork.

You create something unique

The number one benefit of teamwork is when so many brains work together, they create something new and extraordinary that one person alone would not be capable of creating or coming up with on their own. So when different minds brainstorm and various ideas collide, the result is something really unique.

You might think that you have all the smart ideas or that you have no ideas at all, but when you start to work with other people, you not only tap into their potentials but your own as well. Every individual gets an opportunity to let his talents and skills shine. And it is also likely that you come to know about your weaker points with regards to thought process, discussion and sharing. You come to know what you lacked or what you could have thought.

You improve your social skills

While most of us prefer to form groups with our own friends, it is a good idea to work with people that you do not know or haven’t worked with before. Why?

Because when working with people you were not friends with, you get a chance to make new friends and enhance your communication and social skills. You listen to each other, present your own opinion and exchange criticism. There might be conflicts due to difference of opinion, but you learn to have patience with others and to cooperate with them.

There may be instances when you become the one clearing the differences among two opponents, this is where you learn to live — the basic rules of life that will benefit you throughout your life. You learn that you cannot always have your own way in life. And this makes your personality a balanced one.

You learn a new skill

The most important one in my opinion is that you always learn something new because when you are assigned a task that does not match your existing skills, you end up developing a new skill. For example, I learnt a great deal about using PowerPoint when I was in school because I was usually the person responsible for preparing presentations for group assignments and projects.

So, when working as a team member you are also assigned to a task individually, which could be to have the supplies for making a project, to collect money for any project, research, writing and it could be editing, etc. Even if you prefer not to be involved in doing something new, you get the opportunity to polish and enhance your existing skills this way.

Illustration by Ahmed Amin
Illustration by Ahmed Amin

You become active

The same old dull routine of schools can make you lazy and cause your brain to rust. Group activities give you a chance to not only become physically active, but mentally active as well. On one hand, the hustle and bustle, and the environment makes you active and you feel tired by the end of the day. On the other hand, such activities force you to use your brain and execute your ideas.

Your reward comes in the form of satisfaction when you realise that your team’s efforts paid off and your task was successfully accomplished.

Nothing comes easy, and as tough and challenging any teamwork can be, it brings lasting effects. So the next time you are asked to work in a team, grab the opportunity and think of all the benefits of working together!


Tips for working in student teams

• Choose team members wisely

Generally teachers tend to assign members of a team in schools, but when you have the option of choosing them yourself, make sure you choose wisely.

Don’t choose people just because they are your friends, choose them for the skills they have and their dedication to doing tasks.

• Know your team members

To work successfully, team members must know each other and bond together well. Have a team-building, team-bonding session for everyone to start off well.

• Exchange vital information

Share all the key information — such as data, class and work schedules, etc. Create a master list with all the key information and distribute it to each team member.

• Select a leader

No matter what the task is, or how big or small a team is, there must always be a leader in every team. And leadership is not as much about glory as it is about taking up responsibility, so it should be someone who is ready to put in some extra effort.

• Identify strengths and skills

Identify the strengths each team member possesses and then give them duties that suit those skills best.

• Active participation from all

Even if one person doesn’t complete their assigned task, the whole team will suffer so each member needs to participate, even if they dislike other team members or the assignment.

Published in Dawn, Young World, November 18th, 2017