Teamwork is dreamwork

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Arianna Mueller Teamwork blog

No matter what environment you end up in, teamwork is an inevitable fact of professional environments. While I’m sure we would all love team members who put in a consistent amount of work on their fair share of the task at hand, sadly, it often doesn’t turn out that way. Figuring out how to navigate this environment can be tricky, even for established business professionals, let alone college students.

I would love to provide you with a list of do’s and don’ts, tips and tricks, or life hacks to help solve this dilemma, but I don’t believe that it’s possible to encompass the differences in teams in such a list. Just like each individual has their own independent dynamic, each team will too, therefore what may work for some may be detrimental to another.

Throughout my time at UW-Stevens Point and a variety of work environments, I have run into a multitude of different teamwork situations and feel like I can never get it quite right. Often, I find myself taking on the work of those who are slacking on their portion of the group work. I might not be able to tell you what to do in these situations, but I can certainly tell you this is NOT it.

In the spirit of not taking on the workload of your entire team, I encourage you to take a step in a different direction and reach out to your supervisor or professor (or whoever the lead of the team may be). Find a way to build communication into your group. There are two things that are happening throughout your project. There is work that needs to be identified and completed, and then there is the communication and delegation of that work. It’s important to remember in group settings that you are not responsible for the portion of the work that isn’t yours. Teammates appreciate help when it is given, but it should never be expected out of the baseline expectations. By reaching out to the leader of the team and building in constant communication to the group, you are able to alleviate the pressure off of yourself, keep the group updated on your progress and also create a delegation of activities.

Best of luck in all of your group project endeavors. Remember that together you all have the shared vision of a final completed project. You may need to help lead others on your team to see what that looks like, but it doesn’t mean that you need to do all the work. Work on this and master this skill now and it will pay massive dividends for you in your future career.

Ariana Mueller is a business administration student in the Sentry School of Business and Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Originally from Wausau, Wis., Ariana serves as a peer adviser in the Anderson Classroom to Career Center.