When managing a team, the first thing to get straight is that what's valid for individual assignments is also applicable for group projects. In other words, you will have to define the objectives, understand the tasks, and proceed with setting clear expectations.
That said, in group work, you will have to face other complexities. Whether it is for a student project or handling a team in the office, you can try to implement the following practices to ensure the best outcome.
Needless to say, having the best people in a team can make things much easier. If you do not already have a perfect team assembled, the first thing to do is select members who are compatible with the project's requirements and have the capabilities to meet the target.
Compatibility is a crucial point because even members who are the most skilled might fail when it comes to working with others. And this is likely to slow down the progress of the project and create friction between the team members.
Similarly, someone with excellent interpersonal skills should also be able to add value by pulling their weight when it comes to working. If you are the project leader, it is necessary to ensure balance for every individual and team.
Once you have got the team together, the next step is to define the goals of the project and make sure that everyone is on the same page. Whether you are the leader or a member, you cannot assume that everybody knows what to do and will perform without any difficulties. Instead, you need to have guidelines on how to proceed and complete the project.
Below we have listed some crucial points that you need to address during the initial meeting.
After you have clarified these steps, everyone in the team will have a clear idea of their role and what is expected of them. This will make it easier to carry out the rest of the project.
You can avoid a large part of confusion and stress by communicating properly with other team members. In an office setting, a 2019 survey found out that 80% of workers experience stress from poor communication. And when it comes to student group projects, the situation is not entirely different.
To begin with, communication is necessary to get clarity on what you are trying to achieve. It is also critical in delegating tasks, meeting deadlines, and even passing on reliable resources. For example, some of you might be taking academic paper help from WritePaper, and by sharing this useful tip, you can help other students handle the assignments better.
Today, there are free platforms such as Trello that let you define tasks and deadlines with ease. These can be immensely helpful in ensuring transparency, so everyone is aware of how others are performing in the group.
For a team to be successful, different elements have to come together and go hand-in-hand. For instance, without transparency, you cannot communicate effectively, and without that, there will not be any collaboration. In other words, the entire process is interlinked.
A positive collaborative atmosphere is critical for the smooth running of the team. This means that no one should feel hesitant to discuss any issues that they are facing when handling the assigned tasks.
It might be helpful for the team leader to dedicate individual sessions with each of the members to understand their requirements and difficulties. While some might be struggling with studying for a presentation, others might have difficulty gathering the resources for research. You can also consider the project management tools we discussed earlier to integrate for promoting better collaboration. For achieving such results, you need perfect team collaboration software like Troop Messenger.
Of course, holding unnecessary meetings can be a huge waste of time. However, with proper management and clear intentions, you can make business meetings more effective. Ideally, you can increase the frequency of meetings or communications while keeping them short and succinct.
It might be a good idea to conduct review meetings regularly to make sure things are on track as planned. These can be held on a daily basis or at regular intervals. You might think this works only for businesses and other organizations, but it also brings results in any team, be it in the student setting or for voluntary work.
In order to make sure that individuals fulfill their obligations, you can also try to come up with a strategic reward system to show appreciation for members who are making good progress. When done positively, this will also encourage others to pull their weight.
That said, also bear in mind that encouraging unhealthy competition can lead to a hostile environment which can prove to be counterproductive.
Well, you might be all working together because your teacher put you in a team, However, this need not stop you from having some fun while doing the work. In fact, spending time outside of the project can be a great team-building exercise. Such interactions are likely to be less formal, encouraging better communication, sharing, and bonding.
This can, in turn, foster trust between the team members. This could be anything from eating out and exercising together as a team without or with Precor gym equipment to diversify the workout routine, to vacationing together (if you have the time for it). Such an approach can help turn a group project into a fun activity that everyone enjoys.
Regardless of how meticulously you plan the teamwork, you will run into obstacles. After all, the team is made of different individuals with different perspectives. If you ask your senior students, they will undoubtedly say that conflicts are bound to arise in a team. And you will need to come up with strategies on how to handle them.
Needless to say, it wouldn’t be helpful to dismiss a team member's idea or even to talk over them when they are presenting. Instead, the aim is to compromise and come to an understanding that works best for everyone in the team as well as the success of the assignment.
It is also important to look at the differences as learning opportunities. Sometimes, opposite opinions can point you to a totally new perspective, which can turn out to be a better approach. Remember that each individual on the team has different attributes and should be recognized for the strengths they bring to the table.
Lastly, be sure to celebrate both big and small accomplishments. Remember how we suggested that you divide the project into manageable tasks? When the team completes each one successfully, make it a point to reward the team. You do not have to go all out every time you celebrate, but you can have smaller celebrations more frequently.
This can be another step to remind your team members that the goals are achievable and worth striving for, which can keep the motivation high.