Written by: Margherita Nisco, Camilla Fragasso, Pietro Alessandrini.
Ever since we were little we have been taught to work alone, relying only on ourselves and on our own skills. This has led to a competitive way of thinking, where the highest scores are one of the most important objectives we set ourselves during our school year.
Given that the school environment is so heavily focused on individuality, pupils aregenerally good at doing tasks on their own, but when faced with a group project (or a similar situation that involves other people) they find themselves in trouble, as they are simply not prepared to interact and to operate with their peers.
A survey that we conducted shows that the majority of our classmates would rather operate alone than in a group, although the gap betweenthe number of those more prone to work with others and the ones who are inclined to go it alone is not huge.
The results show that with a little effort we can catch up with this new society, where the ability to work as part of a team is a skill that is practically a prerequisite for job hirers. This is so because interacting with more people can help to develop a much broader perspective on a matter, thus helping you to become more open minded to the ideas and opinions of others.Until that happens, small conflicts may occur, and managing them will be essential. Such a skill is also useful in terms of task management in order to satisfy an approaching deadline. Regardless of the advantages of working together our results show that many people still struggle to get a job done with others and the majority see a lack of organisation and the variety of different ideas as the main problem.
We (Margherita, Camilla, Pietro) encountered similar problems while writing this article, as we could not reach agreement regarding a theme, whereas once we settled on a topic, everything was decidedly easier. We overcame our difficulties by establishing roles for each of us, writing down what came to our minds and by always listening to everyone’s ideas, before discussing together which one to choose. This can be an example on how to organise tasks in order to make the running of a project faster and much smoother.
Here are some tips on how to work faster and better in a group:
- Brainstorm: so that general ideas and concepts can be discussed.
- Listen to everybody’s idea: it is extremely important to let every member of the group voice their opinion in order to be in complete harmony with each other.
- Vote on what to do: after listening to each idea, it is necessary to choose one that pleases the most people, if not everyone.
- Assign roles: this way everyone knows what to do and organisation will be much easier.
- Create timelines and deadlines: so you will know when a certain task needs to be done, and the job will be done faster and in a more efficient way.
- Communicate with your project partners: this is the most important part of working with someone, so that each person can understand what to do and is on the same page.
- Get together to polish the final product: the results can appear messy or incongruous if not assembled uniformly.
With more encouragement and guidance during the planning process, people could easily learn and enjoy working together, which especially in large projects can lead to much better results.
Collaborating with other people can be challenging at times, but as soon as you get started and you organise the job, and set a collaborative mood between you and your team mates, everything should fall into place and you should feel the deep satisfaction that comes from sharing and working with others. After all, many hands make light work!