I am one of those people who while rarely looks forward to team projects in classes has never had a truly terrible experience. I have never found myself in the position where I have felt my voice wasn’t heard or, on the other end of the spectrum, I have never found myself in the position where I ended up doing all of the work.
Perhaps I have been lucky, or perhaps I have some magical ability to make any team work cohesively. Perhaps I have gone into my team projects ready to not only delegate jobs but relinquish some of my own power.
After today’s discussion, I’m beginning to think that it’s the latter.
I found myself thinking a lot about my former roommate who studied electrical engineering. She would constantly be working on team projects, and be meeting with her teammates. Then, when I asked her how her projects were going, she would comment about nobody doing any work. Upon further prodding she would always mention that she was okay with it, because she did not trust any of her engineering teammates to do the writing portions, or even take the lead on the science and math portions of their projects.
Her inability to relinquish some of that responsibility was sometimes a great source of stress for her. She ended up doing up to four times the work as she would have had to do if the responsibilities had been delegated appropriately.
Then, I began thinking of the recent team projects I have been thrown into. Specifically the one from this class. We spent time as a team brainstorming at each step of the process; the choice of movie, the delegating of leaders within the movies and the division of labor were all decision made by the team. The lines of communication were always open between the five of us between email and text. The final materials were done individually, then were worked on together one evening, with all of us editing, commenting, and suggesting changes.
We managed, quite naturally, to hit upon all of the points of a good team that we discussed in class. When we were assigned this project, while I was excited to be working with people from such different backgrounds, I wasn’t sure what that would mean in the context of a team. Thankfully,I never felt that ego was an issue. We worked together splendidly.
In contrast with my roommates projects, this one was entirely stress-free, which on its own really shows the power of true teamwork.