If you have a school-aged kid, you’ve probably noticed a trend taking hold in classrooms over the last few years. More and more projects are being assigned as team projects. You may see it as one more threat to your (and your student’s) already unmanageable schedule, or you can see it as schools trying to address a growing trend in business: collaboration. (You might even be open-minded enough to see it as both.)
Being part of team means understanding how to do a number of things. If you’ve ever been part of a team at school at at work, then you know how important managing time is. It’s not just about keeping yourself on task and on time, it’s about doing your part to help keep the team and project as a whole on task and on time. (Not easy in a team of sometimes wildly different work approaches.) It’s also about learning how to work with other people to reach the team’s goals for the project. (Not easy in a team of sometimes wildly different personalities, especially when one teammate wishes another was on another continent.) It’s also about making sure everyone knows who is doing what, what resources are needed, where, and just about where everyone is in general. (Much easier in this day and age of overconnectedness.)
Working toward a more collaborative environment requires you to think about more than just how the team works and interacts. It also requires an awareness of how to build a team that will put together a good project. That starts with understanding yourself. What are your strengths? How can you bring those to the team and sharpen them as you work? What personal weaknesses would be better covered by someone skilled in that area? And how do you find the right teammates to collaborate with? This is especially difficult for school-aged kids to handle, because they’d rather work with their friends (even if all of them have the same set of skills) than find someone who can really help them make the project shine. (As far as I can tell, the school best set up to foster a skill-based team-building process is Quest2Learn’s skills profiles.)
Learning how to manage your own skill development, your skills profile, and watching how you work with other people will make you a much stronger force to be reckoned with when it comes time to get those professional projects done.