Relational Skills: Working Collaboratively in Teams, Civic and Community Engagement – GT1000 Guest Post #2

September 19, 2013 § Leave a comment

This semester, the GT Women’s Resource Center is teaching a section of GT 1000, Georgia Tech’s freshman seminar class. As part of our class, we are having each of our students contribute a blog post. The following post is the second one, discussing the importance of teamwork.

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Every one of us has grown up hearing others tell us things like, “Little Billy, make sure you are a team player because no one likes a ball hog.”  We have all come face to face with this idea of teamwork.  However it is worded – teamwork, cooperation, “Play nice little Johnny”, etc. – this value is a rudimentary foundation in today’s society.  But one may ask why.  What is the purpose of this frequently taught moral, and why is it emphasized so much?  The answer to this question lies in the productive outcomes via teamwork.

The individual, group, and ultimately, the surrounding community gain from teamwork.  Now, if you are the typical introvert like myself who says, “Team projects are stressful, useless, and no fun at all”, answer the question, “How can teamwork be helpful to me?”  When addressing teamwork through this perspective, one can see many pros to teamwork.  It is shown that one can learn and retain more in teams as opposed to working alone.  One may also acquire attributes such as accountability, motivation, and perseverance, and he/she will enhance communication skills.  One learns to fill a purpose by doing his/her part because others are counting on him/her.  If working alone, one may become more easily stressed and/or begin to think about giving up.  A group can provide support, positive morale, and constructive criticism which results in not only a more pleasant experience but also superior output work (Lau).  Regardless of a team member’s attitude, however, the benefits surpass the individual and extend to the group as well as the community.  The group attains similar attributes, and the community, whether it is local, national, or global, receives the advancements of the group, which can improve the world in so many various ways.

For example, at the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia and many medical schools, professors and experts are advocating better teamwork throughout the healthcare system.  They believe that better cooperation and communication in the system, such as between the EMT and the nurse and the doctor and the surgeon and etc., can aid many.  They suggest that advancements can result such as, “more comprehensive care, shorter hospital stays, and fewer errors and unnecessary procedures” (Roethel).  As shown, teamwork is an essential and relevant idea found in our global society.

Teamwork, however, pertains to us right now as Georgia Tech students.  College is a time of rigorous work, both individually and in groups.  As a primarily science and research focused college, teamwork and good collaboration skills are especially a necessary ability.  To achieve and maintain these skills, one must have an open attitude.  Selfish thoughts and solo work are limiting factors that not only hinder the individual but also others and the world.  He/she must be willing to compromise, make sacrifices, and have the work ethic to do what is requested of them and then more.  Having the mindset of enjoying team-oriented work as opposed to a do-the-minimal-work-required mindset will vastly better the experience as well as the quality of work produced.  Teamwork goes hand in hand with empathy because it gives us the opportunity to look past ourselves and contribute to the well-being of others.

Therefore, I urge everyone to push past the sense of tolerance towards teamwork and instead, welcome teamwork as opportunities.  If one can achieve this attitude, he/she will find that life, such as relationships to amiability to even future jobs, can be obtained and maintained much easier.  As a naturally social species, we humans need a universal skill of working with one another easily.  We must view life not as team-me but as team-us.  Only as a team will the world and our race continue to prosper.

The main factor to remember though is that teamwork does not spontaneously come into motion.  It is a decision, one that requires effort and perseverance.  You CAN make this decision!

– Clint G.

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Works Cited

Lau, Edmond.  “Why and Where is Teamwork Important?”  Forbes.  Forbes Magazine, 23 January 2013.  Web.  10 September 2013.

Roethel, Kathryn.  “Medical Schools Push Teamwork.”  USnews.  N.p., 19 March 2012.  Web. 10 September 2013.

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