You will be asked to work in a group or do a group assignment while you are at University. This is because group skills are considered essential in the workplace. You may become anxious because your assignment mark is dependent on other group members; however, people working together can produce a stronger result. You will learn about different ways to do things by working with other students. You will also learn about yourself.

Appreciate different approaches

There are different behaviours required within a team for successful outcomes. Each person will have strengths and weaknesses in different areas. The trick is utilising the strengths, allowing for weaknesses, and planning to cover for them. For example, allow a creative thinker to think imaginatively, but accept that they may not worry about smaller details, so make sure you have someone who is good at details.

Belbin suggests there are 9 team roles that need to be covered at one time or another by your team, however large it is. You need to know yourself and recognise strengths in others.

Which of the following could describe you? Select three and enter your answer in the box below.

Tends to be highly creative and good at generating ideas and solving problems, but may ignore incidentals or be absent minded and not communicate well.

Uses their inquisitive nature to find ideas to bring back to the team, but might be over-optimistic and lose interest quickly.

The person who focuses on the teams objectives and gets everyone working effectively and appropriately according to talent. Might be seen as manipulative or offloading their share of work.

Provides drive and focus, and thrives on pressure, but can upset people on the way.

Is strategic and good at weighing up options, providing logical, and impartial judgements, but can be overly critical and not able to inspire others.

Cooperative and diplomatic, this person helps the team work together and get the job done; however, they may avoid confrontation or being unpopular.

This person turns ideas into actions, complete with efficient strategy for carrying it out, but can be a bit inflexible.

Best suited to the fine polish at the end of a project, this person is conscientious with attention to detail, but prone to anxiety and perfectionism.

Provides the specialist knowledge and skills in a key area, while being a dedicated self-starter. They might get too caught up in technicalities or have too much information.

Focus on bringing out the best in yourself and bringing out the best in others. This is the key to getting the most out of your team effort.

Online tools

Here are some online tools that could help coordinate your team work.

Groupmap

Trello

Mindmeister

Padlet