All throughout our schooling experience, we were put through the dreaded group work situations. Completing projects or assignments with a group of students brought with it headache and stress that independent work did not. Through grade school, high school and college, working in a team environment was less than desirable.
And, not so surprisingly, these group work situations don’t end in the professional world. Especially in the PR or advertising industries. However, in the professional world, not only do you complete certain projects in teams, but you work every day along side multiple people who you can accurately describe as your teammates. And I’m here to tell you, it’s so much better than those dreaded group assignments were in school.
Being on a team in the professional world means getting to work with people whose strengths can contribute leaps and bounds to projects in areas you may not be so strong in. Per my experience so far, in the professional world every person on your team is as dedicated as you to make the work you’re producing the best it can be, and it can take a lot of pressure off of you as an individual to be the person solely responsible for its success. Most importantly, these team environments give you a chance to continue learning outside of the classroom you’ve been stuck in for the last 16-ish years, from people who have tons of real life experience in your field.
Although these new team environments can add so much to your professional life, the transition into being a great team player in an already-established team can be difficult. So it’s important to keep these things in mind:
Consider and acknowledge all of your teammates’ points of view.
Sometimes it’s difficult to see things from many different perspectives, but doing your best to see where your teammates are coming from will only further the project you are working on. Listen when they give input or ideas, and do your best to consider them fully before moving forward with your suggestions.
Do your part and do it well.
Because you’re new to the team, your part of the project may not be the most important. But, the focus and attention you give to it will show the team what you are capable of, and that you are dedicated to the organization’s goal as a whole.
Understand you have a lot to learn from the people on your team.
Many of us coming out of college were used to being near the top of the chain in school. Many of us served as account supervisors or project managers at student run firms or organizations. However, in the professional world, you are no longer the expert and it is important to keep that in mind and take in what your teammates are doing or saying so that you can grow as a professional.