December 2018

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I was in my third team engagement of more than 2 members at school. When I casually mentioned that I was having a hard time, a friend said to me- it’s all about demographics. We end up with people we decide to be with, either by action or inaction. Choosing your team is like choosing ingredients for a dish. If proper thought is not given to the individual members of the team, the task is likely to come out less than favorable. How does a team come together and work well together? This can be achieved by planning and delegating. As a member of a team, taking up more work is like spoiling other members or saying there is no confidence in them. A focus on the output will also be a good guide. Dwelling on some areas lead to distractions and loss of valuable time, therefore a schedule will be of great assistance.

Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of team members usually helps and applying them at the right time requires mindfulness. This brings to question the quality of leadership. The leader has the responsibility of planning and applying the strengths in the team. In my last experience our group came out with great ideas, our focus was on the product and we made a super one. We discovered later that neither of us had the same idea on how the product worked and corrected that in our final submission.

Team work is brilliant, when I got tired as the team leader, I saw the other members step up and contribute to energize the team enabling us to finish strong. I learned that meetings should be about what we could achieve together and to leave the smaller parts for individual work. Asking questions provided better results than proffering solutions, most of my suggested solutions led to higher thoughts and I learnt new things by listening and asking questions.

My apprehension for team work faded with the last experience. Team work is very important in our world today. Having different views on a topic enriches the solution and allows the topic to metamorphose into results a single person would not be able to do. The contributions of the teams prepare ideas for the larger society. The team helps in educating members in areas of their weaknesses and everyone emerges better. 

Patricia Kio
Patricia is a Ph.D. student in the College of Architecture

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