There’s No “I” in “Team”

A team is a group of people who work together to accomplish a goal. This could be a smaller group of four or five people, or a larger group numbering 100 or more.

What is the point of a team?

The point of working in a team is to be able to accomplish a goal that would be too much work for just one person or would take much longer to accomplish if someone were working alone. A fictional team that can help us understand the key concepts is the Avengers, from Marvel comics and movies. The Avengers work together because they can’t help as many people separately, and the team members all have different skillsets. When working together on a project, some team members may have largely similar skills, which helps to get certain tasks done much faster. For example, to conduct in-person surveys of 500 people could take a sizeable amount of time to complete by yourself; however, if working in a team of 10 people, then each person would need to survey only 50 people each. By contrast, a team whose members have very different personalities and skills can often accomplish a wider variety of projects.

Working as part of a team not only helps to accomplish goals, but also it brings together people that you may not have talked to before and causes you to expand your knowledge of others. Working together as a team can also be motivating, since you can bounce ideas off of each other, and someone may come up with a great idea that you never would have imagined.

What happens when team members just don’t get along?

Sometimes, no matter what you do, you may not get along with everyone on the team. A personality clash can arise when another team member is too much like you or if you don’t seem to agree on how to do things. Honestly, sometimes a person in the group may just not want to talk to you and won’t have a good reason to not like you. When I have worked with people who didn’t like working with me, I found that the best thing I could do was just continue working on my tasks and make sure that I was getting my job done. I would act as if what they said didn’t affect me, and if I ever felt uncomfortable, I went to my supervisor to see if I could do anything to improve the situation. Sometimes all you can do is to focus on your part and not let other people prevent you from finishing your goals.

When will I work in a team?

Throughout your life, you could find yourself working on a team for a variety of reasons. At school, participating in a team for a sport or for a class project is a bit easier, because you have a teacher or coach directing your team to accomplish things. In many workplace settings, bosses want to see how their employees communicate with each other and how each person can bring unique ideas to the table and then collaborate with others. In addition, there may be times when you create or join a team to accomplish your own goals and desires. Building your communication skills and learning how to work with others is key.

For a fun bonus, I recommend the following three movies that can help you understand teamwork and see how to learn or work with others in different situations:
Avengers (2012)
Coach Carter (2005)
The Incredibles (2004)

Jessica Frye is studying social work at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga and wrote this while an intern at RiseUP Cooperative.

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