By: Konrad Philip
The life of a Sauder student involves a lot of group work. Some love it, some hate it, and others love it for the wrong reason – i.e. they can slack off. Social loafing is just one of the frustrations teams face, and it’s enough to make many want to work alone. Unfortunately, for good reason or not, teams are increasingly prevalent in the workplace. According to an Indiana University study, half of all employees in the United States belong to at least one group at work. Companies look for job applicants with “leadership” and “team work” skills. In other words, we might as well learn to enjoy it by using the BOSS approach.
When groups are assigned we often work with people whom we’ve never met. Just like in a social setting, our body language forms the impression others have of us. If you spend team meetings staring at your laptop screen or cell phone, you appear disinterested. In turn, your colleagues will not feel encouraged to speak. Instead, make eye contact with the people speaking and nod your head occasionally.
Group work is not always the quickest way to tackle a project. This is because of the time spent planning – both on a project level and scheduling to fit everyone’s routine. Although meetings may not be at the most convenient time for you, make sure to arrive on time. For online meetings, make sure your connection works a few minutes before the start. If something unanticipated happens, let the group know you are running late and let them start without you.
Stay in touch
Another major use of time for teams is communication. Right off the bat, you should exchange telephone numbers and emails and determine how you will stay in touch. Do not assume, for example, that everyone has a Facebook page or that they check their email frequently. Discuss as a group to find the best channel. However you choose to do it, messages should be responded to in 24 hours or less, depending on urgency.
So how do you avoid doing all the work? Two people we never want to let down are our friends and ourselves. While it isn’t always possible to become friends with our teammates, we can get them to commit to success by setting goals. At the first meeting, tell the group what grade you expect to get, and ask them what their target is. Once they say it, they will be more likely to work towards it.
Have more etiquette questions? Visit my website www.notawkwardanymore.com or tweet me @notawkanymore