How to Survive Working in
Updated 14 August 2015
Let's face it: a lot of people don't like to work
in groups. Schedules can be hard to coordinate. Personalities sometimes
clash. Some people work harder than others. Now that's out
of our system, let's face another reality: there is very little you will
do in the work place that is not done in collaboration with others.
As America continues to downsize, the ability to work as a member of a
team is becoming increasingly important. This class offers you a
chance to hone your "people skills" in a real-life working environment.
Based upon personal observations and experience, here are some tips for
surviving the group experience:
Remember the Golden Rule. Do unto others as
you would have them do unto you. No matter how stressful the situation,
treat one another with respect.
Close is only good enough in horseshoes and hand grenades.
The final result is the only thing that really counts. The road to
hell is paved with good intentions.
Do it now! Don't put something off until tomorrow.
If you have the time, take care of it.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
Chip away at the task ahead. If you wait until you have enough time
to tackle something from start to finish, you may never get started.
Trust is earned. If you say you are going to
do something, then do it. Your word is your bond. If you don't
keep your word, you have no right to expect others to keep theirs, either.
Act with purpose and conviction. Success isn't determined
by the number of meetings a group holds. It is determined by
what is actually accomplished. Come to group meetings prepared to
Accept this and all challenges with a sense of adventure.
Time will go by more quickly if you embrace, rather than resist.
Feed off one another's strengths. Not everyone is
good at everything. But everyone is usually good at something.
Try to match tasks to talents.
Perception is reality. You may be a hard worker.
But if you appear lazy to others, that is how the world will define you.
Do yourself a favor: Don't forget to do your own public relations.
Use the buddy system. Work in pairs of trios.
Partners can encourage each other, bounce ideas off of one another and
check each other's work.
Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?
The person who writes a piece of copy or types it into the computer should
not edit that copy. Someone with a fresh pair of eyes should check
for spelling, grammatical and factual errors.
Error message - that does not compute. It is best
to avoid leaving computer-related duties in the hands of just one group
member. That person usually ends up with an inordinate share of the
work. Choose a computer word processing format that is compatible
to as many group members as possible. Feel free to take advantage
of computer labs in the school of journalism.
Remember Chernobyl. To avoid last-minute disasters,
save all computer data on at least two disks or CD-ROMs.
"All-nighters" the evening before deadlines are not heroic.
They are stupid. Set interim deadlines and meet them. Allow
the group ample time to edit and fine-tune documents.
There is no "I" in "Team." What you say about
others in your group is a reflection upon yourself.
Try to build team spirit. Don't undermine it.
Be a straight-shooter. If you have difficulty
with or are unsatisfied with the performance of a group member, it is your
responsibility to voice those concerns to that individual privately before
sharing them with others.
Book 'em, Dano. Do what most successful managers
do: keep a personal log of what was said, by whom and on what date.
In addition to keeping you on top of a dynamic process, you can document
the performance of yourself and other group members.
Aim high. The best groups are those that place
the highest expectations upon themselves.
Fair warning is better than no warning at all.
If a deadline may be missed, the penalty is usually less severe when your
professor is told of the problem before the deadline passes. This
also holds true when dealing with members of your group.
Don't assume anything. If you are not sure of
something, check it out.
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