The meaning of teamwork, according to The Happy Manager (The Happy Manager, n.d.), is generally the willingness of a group to work together to achieve a common goal. I and my fellow students experienced a simulation that is usually conducted in an Assessment Centre, typically for fresh graduates. It involved us discussing and making decisions about a situation: if you get stuck in a rainforest after a plane crash, what items will you bring with you to use?
What went through my head?
Even before the task, I’ve always felt that working in a group somehow brought out the best in me. So I was excited when I heard that we will be in a group, especially because it was the first time I was working with my new classmates. I was really surprised that we all worked well together and I felt closer to them because we laughed a lot while talking about the items and how we could use them based on the scenario that had. We also had the opportunity to voice our own opinions individually and not have just one person dominate the discussion. After the whole simulation, everyone also gave feedback about themselves and also the person next to them in the group. It was quite difficult, but it was great because we had the chance to reflect and pay attention to others.
Gains & Limitations
According to the Queens University of Charlotte, nearly three out of four employees rate teamwork and collaboration as “very important” (University Queen of Charlotte, 2021). I value being in a team because it brings out different ideas and helps stimulate problem-solving skills that can achieve the goal for a certain task. To return to the situation I described, because of everyone’s contributions, we were able to finish effectively and on time. However, the limitations or problems that we had in our group were: first, no one wanted to speak when it was time for presenting. Second, when we gave feedback to ourselves, one of our members said that she was kind of useless when we had our discussion. According to Paul Goodman, there are people who work better independently, which mirrors my experience in this exercise (Goodman, 2021). I don’t think anyone wanted to speak up because they knew they could rely on someone else to dare to speak, or they weren’t confident enough to present. Also, one particular member didn’t think she contributed something, but she did. I’ve seen her participate in class, but when she is in a group, she tends to be quiet and just listens carefully to the members. Additionally, while being observed, I was self-conscious and felt the need to act a certain way. In a way, this helped me because I took the initiative to present. In my previous experiences, I usually just listened and contributed and let others lead. In the end, it all still worked well for us.
Learnings & Improvements
Through the assessment centre group simulation, I learned that there are advantages, as well as disadvantages, to work in a team. In addition to that, it’s great to encourage each other to speak up and share their own thoughts. As for myself, I’ve learned how to break the ice to make members feel more comfortable. Now, one thing I would keep in mind is not to make too many jokes that distract them from the task at hand, just so I can make them comfortable. With this in mind, in future group sessions, I will try to refrain from being too talkative when it’s not about the topic. To do so, I will initiate every session to be the one who will write down the minutes and to be the timer. This will enable me to stay focused on the task set and to demonstrate leadership qualities.
Goodman, P., 2021. 12 Disadvantages of Teamwork in the Workplace. [Online] Available at: https://toughnickel.com/business/Disadvantages-of-Teamwork-in-the-Workplace [Accessed 13 March 2021].
The Happy Manager, n.d. Define Teamwork – a teamwork definition that works!. [Online] Available at: https://the-happy-manager.com/articles/define-teamwork/#:~:text=Typically%2C%20teamwork%20is%20defined%20as,is%20a%20good%20team%20player%E2%80%9D. [Accessed 17 March 2021].
University Queen of Charlotte, 2021. COMMUNICATING IN THE MODERN WORKPLACE. [Online] Available at: https://online.queens.edu/resources/infographic/communicating-in-the-workplace/[Accessed 12 March 2021].