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How to succeed in teamwork, lessons from academia

How do you feel when asked to complete work as part of a team? For many, the prospect of teamwork fuels feelings of anxiety and dread — a reaction to multiple occasions where expectations and experiences didn’t match up during completion of team-based work. The frustration associated with teamwork may be attributed to instances where an individual felt they were asked to complete more than their “fair share” of work. Others may feel angst because “teamwork,” for them, means seeing associates dominate aspects of the project, completing work in isolation, and returning to the group with “the solution.” The solution being something that the team never discussed, provided input on, or had time to influence before fast approaching deadlines. I think that teamwork can be a wonderful thing. However, in order to make teamwork a good experience for everyone involved it is essential to first learn how to work in teams (i.e., we suck at team work because we don’t know how to work in teams — we have not been taught to collaborate effectively).