Introduction

Have you ever worked on a project with at least one other person? If so, technically you’ve been part of a team. However, it may not have felt like a team to you. You may have had a common goal but had different ideas about how to reach it. Your personalities may have clashed because, depending on the size of the team, several of you wanted to take charge, or maybe no-one was willing to take the lead. Possibly you wanted to meet regularly but your partner or team members were always busy. If your team was part of a class, maybe you were aiming for an A as your final grade but others in your team would have been happy with a lower grade.

Students Discussing a Topic
Figure 1.1

Depending on the project, and the person or people you’re working with, it could have been a very satisfying or a very frustrating experience. One of the things that faculty hear from students is how much they dislike working in teams, but collaborating with other people can be a positive fulfilling experience. Research shows that teamwork is one of the most sought-after skills from employers. Working as part of a team in class can prepare you for teamwork outside of the classroom. You can learn many valuable skills that you can highlight to a potential employer on both your resume and in the interview.

As you work through this guide, we encourage you to reflect on what teamwork means to you. Think about how you can take what you’ve learned in these modules and apply the lessons to the various situations in which you function as part of a team.

License

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Teamwork: An Open Access Practical Guide by Andrew M. Clark, Lolin Martins-Crane, Mengqi Zhan, and Justin T. Dellinger is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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