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When I was growing up, team work was not part of school curriculum. This, combined with my personality, made all kinds of team work and group projects not come naturally to me later in life. My instincts are to crawl into a hole, 'figure it out' myself, and then, maybe, share the findings. Other times, the way I work in groups is more like the concept of parallel play, which is how young children play next to each other before they learn to play with each other. It is easier when someone (it could even be me) manages the project or if it can be broken into individual tasks, or if the work is 'straight-forward' such as conducting a field sampling event together. I am happy to see that for my son, who is in elementary school, working on a project in small groups is the most natural thing and his favorite mode.
What's your experience with working in a team? Does it come naturally? Do you enjoy it? What are the challenges? Are there any tips for making it work?
Hi Natalya, thanks for the questions founded on a "TEAMWORK AND COLLABORATION" platform.
The context for my response is a firm of architects & engineers who compete in a marketplace against other E/A firms for projects/programs.
So, once a contract for their services is secured, a varied group of professionals are assigned to collaborate, communicate, and cooperate with each other such that the individual and collective work of this group meets the project's quality requirements, first time, every time!
Q1.What's your experience with working in a team?
First, it is premature to call a group assigned to work together a "Team" in the absence of
their project work experiences together, i.e., Where's the evidence of teamwork?
Q2. Does it come naturally?
For some, 'yes.' For most other engineers, 'no.' Search "MBTI for Engineers."
Q3. Do you enjoy it?
See Q2. above.
Q4. What are the challenges?
Learning to stop asserting yourself. . .or staying silent… and proactively seeking opinions from others.
Q5.Are there any tips for making it work?
Informed practice, feedback, and more practice.
I vary on how I respond being on a team based on the team environment. I can work well on teams when the environment projects confidence & trust, but when environments lack those qualities I have the same instincts as you.
A book that I've found really helpful is "Speed of Trust" by Stephen Covey. That book has helped me build the confidence in myself to initiate trust building within the team, which in return has helped break the ice and make communication among the team easier. Successful teams I've been on had that ability to communicate, compromise, and trust one another while teams I call "unsuccessful" typically had individuals who tried making power moves to get a design in the matter that benefits them only, wouldn't share information or would share information at the wrong time that might result in hours of rework, etc. Overall I enjoy working on teams but other times...... yeah.....
Good team leaders
Good team members