Teamwork is one of the most sought-after skills in the workplace, according to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Advancements in technology have allowed companies to be more connected and collaborative than ever before, with a diverse workforce dispersed around the world.
As a result, it’s even more important for employees to demonstrate strong teamwork skills, in both face-to-face and virtual team interactions.
College is the perfect time to start practicing your teamwork skills. Group work is an integral part of your academic coursework, and your internship, externship and clinical experiences are also a great opportunity to develop your relationship building, project management and leadership abilities.
Here are seven teamwork skills that are essential for your academic and professional success:
Communication is the foundation of effective teamwork. Whether you’re working on a presentation with your classmates or spearheading a new project at work, it’s important to talk openly and honestly with your group members about expectations, deadlines, and responsibilities. Establishing open lines of communication promotes trust and makes for a positive team environment. While disagreements might occur, being upfront and respectful in your communication with other team members will help you resolve issues quickly.
2. Time management
Time management, accountability and responsibility are all equally important for your career as they are in your academic life. Project managers, for example, must have strong organizational skills in order to set manageable goals for their team and keep others on track to meet their deadlines. Nurses must also demonstrate strong time management skills, prioritizing and delegating tasks so that they can spend more time on the patients who need extra care.
Learning how to balance multiple deadlines and assignments while you are in school will make it easier for you to adjust to a fast-paced and collaborative work environment in the future.
Effective problem solvers are able to think outside the box when challenges or issues arise. Rather than focusing on negative outcomes, they stay calm and help their team work towards a solution. This approach helps uncover roadblocks or inefficiencies that are inhibiting the team’s success, so you can work to improve those processes in the future.
When working in a group, it’s important to keep an open mind. Recognize that your team members may see things from another perspective, and hear them out. Listening to other points of view can help you see multiple sides of an issue, including ones that you have never considered before. This allows you to be a better colleague and leader, to anticipate needs and challenges before they arise and to respond effectively when they do.
5. Critical thinking
Critical thinking allows you to make better, more informed decisions. It can be tempting to follow along with whatever the group decides, or what one team member believes is the best course of action, but sometimes a different approach or a new idea can help achieve better results. By thinking critically about the situation – examining all sides of an issue, reflecting on past experiences, and listening to what other group members have to say – you could arrive at a breakthrough that moves your team forward in new and exciting ways.
Working in a team can be challenging at times, but more often it is a great opportunity to uncover creative ideas, share different perspectives and experiences, as well as enhance your own skills. If you treat each group project as a learning experience, you can help foster a more productive team environment. Your desire to learn and your willingness to explore new approaches will make you a better contributor, manager, or leader.
A leader who works well with others – both within his or her own department and across departments – can help spread knowledge and resources, develop new leaders and contribute to an organization’s success. Leaders can demonstrate strong teamwork skills by promoting collaboration, acting as a mentor or coach for their employees and by empowering others to learn, grow and advance.
At Herzing, we help you sharpen or develop the skills you need for career advancement through group work, hands-on learning experiences, presentations and capstone projects. Additionally, our P.R.I.C.E. of Success philosophy is focused on the core values of professionalism, respect, integrity, caring and engagement, which are the foundation for a successful, meaningful career.
Learn more about our degree programs and start your path to career advancement today!