There’s No “I” In Team

Posted: November 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

In this week’s “Linky Loves,” I found a lot of truth in the article: “How Creative Thinking Gets Killed by Team Members- 8 Fatal Blows.”Students in the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon have come accustomed to working in groups for projects and assignments.  However, don’t be fooled.  Most students will agree that group projects are not only inconvenient, but are a disadvantage to the individuals who put significantly more effort into their education than their fellow classmates.

The reality is, working in groups is a fact of life and there’s no getting around of it.  Journalism classes at the University of Oregon offer students a preview of what the real world holds and if group projects seem frustrating now, what can one expect in the future?  Apparently it only gets worse. “How Creative Thinking Gets Killed by Team Members – 8 Fatal Blows”

Working in groups is an essential part of running a business and a college education is a preview of what comes next. Photo credit to Toby Bradbury.

I consider myself as friendly and outgoing, but I’ve come to the realization that no matter how good of a person you are, working in groups can be an eye opening and frustrating experience.  One of the most difficult tasks in working in groups is establishing a mutual agreement amongst team members.  Imagine the complexity in trying to incorporate eight different opinions on one single task.  Hell, I have a hard enough time trying to agree with my roommates on what we should eat for dinner.

Most of the time working in groups requires cooperation amongst strangers, or people we hardly know.  It’s important to respect each team member’s opinion, which can be tricky when two people disagree.  Imagine having to reject a stranger’s idea without hurting their feelings, or causing tension amongst the group.  For example, there have been times when I wanted to voice my opinion, yet I was hesitant to share my ideas because I didn’t want my group to reject them.

Differences in opinion amongst team members is as tricky as scheduling work sessions that the entire group can attend.  Students have different classes throughout the day, which makes it complicated to accommodate everyone’s schedules.  This isn’t necessarily a problem when the entire group is employed by the same company, but when referring to a student group project time management can be stressful and frustrating to everyone.

So the question remains:  Do group projects restrain individuals from creative thinking and planning?  I would argue, yes.  I would much rather rely on my own responsibilities than put faith in one of my team members to complete what they promised they would.  When my grade is determined by the amount of effort another individual is willing to put in to a group project, it’s hard for me to endorse working in groups.  I’ve been the victim of this scenario and I assure you it’s not a pleasant experience.

  1. Mike Brown says:

    Thanks for including the Brainzooming post about team members killing creativity in your look at group projects. I hope it didn’t paint too bleak of a picture about group efforts in the workplace! While there can certainly be challenging creative dynamics in a group setting, I’ve experienced so many positive creative outcomes which far surpass any bad ones that have taken place.

    While group projects in school were often a challenge when the students didn’t share the same motivations, they were tremendous preparation for learning how to manage a group of equals in the workplace.

    Thanks again for expanding on the topic!


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