Every team is only as strong as its weakest member. All it takes is one weak member to bring the entire group down. Sometimes a silent group member can be just as harmful to the group as a negative group member. Someone who fails to participate is not only failing to add value, but is taking the place of someone else who could add value to the group. When working in a team, it is important to be an active participant in the group.
When working in a group it can be tempting to sit back and let the other team members do all the work. The question for you is how do you get your students to be active members of a group? How do you get them to engage in a way that will set them up for future success in the workplace? In this post we outline several things you should instill in your students to prepare them to be active participants when they are part of a team.
In order to be able to take part and contribute to the group, everyone needs to come prepared. If there is going to be a team meeting, all team members should know when and where the meeting is and what the meeting is about. All of the members should be prepared for the meeting, and have any relevant materials prepared. Teams waste valuable time when they have to catch up other team members. Coming prepared is a habit that can be developed at an early age. Requiring students to come to class prepared is not much different from this important aspect of teamwork in the workplace.
Help Teammates in Need
Teammates need to remember that when working as a team, everyone is working toward the same goal. Even if the work is broken down into individual assignments, each teammate is still working toward the same end result. Teammates need to keep this in mind and offer assistance to one another. If someone is struggling to solve a problem it benefits the team to have teammates assist them. Team building exercises and group projects are a good way to instill this mentality in your students.
When team members share their knowledge and experience with the group, everyone benefits. Team members should speak up during team meetings and participate in discussions as much as possible. Individuals shouldn’t have to worry about having a “bad idea”, all ideas should be shared with the group. Sharing information with the group is not limited to team meetings. Teams should communicate with one another with updates or new information. Keeping everyone informed helps to keep people on track and prevents unwanted surprises later on. In your classrooms, open discussion should be encouraged as it is a feature of productive teamwork.
Team members should not just wait for a task or project to be assigned to them. Volunteering shows a desire to work and sets an example for the rest of the team. There are always going to be tasks that no one wants to do. Volunteering to take on such tasks is a great way to be a team player. It also furthers the goals of the group and increases productivity.
Be a Leader
Everyone has the capacity to lead and every group needs a leader in order to be successful. To some people, the thought of being a leader may seem frightening. The only way to overcome this fear is to get out there and do it! So what does it mean to be a leader? Leadership is the ability to bring people together in a group in a way that motivates or encourages them to work together. Ultimately, the leader is responsible for getting the group to be successful. Make sure your students have the opportunity to lead others. Work with them on developing the attributes necessary to be a successful leader.