Team Projects: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

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Teamwork is just as essential in the office as it is on the field. It brings people together with a common goal and direction, helping to create bonds that wouldn’t be formed by working alone within the same office. The shared success of hitting a goal together also provides a serious morale booster for everyone involved.

Working on a team project can build trust and respect among employees that in turn makes the overall office environment more enjoyable. It has the potential to break down the office hierarchy and create a sense of equality. Team projects can also make the workplace more productive.

A lot of great things can be gained through team projects, but all it takes is one wrench to throw all of the gears off. The good news is team projects are learning opportunities that can be used to correct issues within the workplace.

Communication Issues

Communication is a must in every work environment, and it’s put to the test during team projects. The way people communicate, as well as the resources that are used during the project, can help or hinder the process.

Team projects test an employee’s ability to communicate clearly with others, and that’s a good thing. They reveal where there are gaps in communication and how they can be plugged. A small team project is also a good testing ground for trying out new tools like the Kore messaging platform, which is designed to help companies improve their communication and collaboration.

Communication can be improved right from the start by setting clear goals for the project and defining roles. Discuss how each team member prefers to communicate and create a schedule for group meetings so that clear lines of communication are always open.

People Aren’t on the Same Page

This is usually a byproduct of communication problems. It can also occur when team members don’t agree on which direction the project should go or simply misunderstand.

When people aren’t on the same page, progress is going to be slow. In these situations, collaboration tools can help solve the problem. When everyone can work within a single hub where tasks, milestones, and deadlines are clearly defined it keeps everyone up to speed on the project. There should be no question as to who is doing what and when it needs to be done.

A collaborative project management tool also increases transparency. Team members won’t feel like they’re being left out of the loop because they have full access like everyone else.

Opposing Personalities

When you have a number of people working closely together, there are bound to be some personality differences. Usually, they aren’t significant and can easily be worked past. However, there are times when people’s personalities truly clash and it creates conflict in the workplace.

Some would think that the best course of action is to keep people with opposing personalities separate to minimize the conflict. But the best solution could be a team project.

During a team project co-workers need to come together if they are going to meet their goals. This could be enough for two employees to find common ground and realize they aren’t so different. Just make sure that the employees have clearly distinct roles so that they are working together and not stepping on each other’s toes or battling for the lead.

Too Many or Not Enough Cooks in the Kitchen

Team projects inherently have a group dynamic. In a perfect world, everyone would have a distinct role and pitch in equally. Unfortunately, that workplace utopia doesn’t exist. In the real world, everyone might want to take on a leadership role, or there could be a few people that coast along and let everyone else do the heavy lifting.

As mentioned above, tasks have to be clearly delegated. The manager may need to step into the leadership role to avoid conflict or assign someone to head up the project. If you have a talented employee who’s reluctant to take on a leadership position, this could be a good time to give them a nudge and see how they perform.

One major benefit of team projects is that co-workers hold each other accountable. If an employee tends to pass the buck or does the bare minimum while working on their own, it may go unnoticed. But during a team project, this will definitely get the attention of others and could lead to conflict. The accountability alone could be enough to correct the issue and motivate the loafer to put in more effort.

Team projects can help a company identify where productivity and communication improvements can be made as well as how employees play off of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. But reaping those rewards requires a thorough assessment of the process that will help guide future team projects.

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