As I forge through the first week of classes I am finding that most upper-division PR courses require team assignments and projects. This makes perfect sense to me; when we get out into the ‘real world’ we will most likely be working in teams on client work. It is so important to be able to successfully accomplish tasks together in a team setting, yet it is something that many people struggle with. I thought I would share some of the tips I have used in the past that have helped me and my teams work cohesively and successfully to produce projects with minimal stress.
When you first get into a team it’s important to assign each person a role and to make sure that everyone knows his or her responsibilities. Identifying a strong leader is essential for keeping the team on track and organized. Next, it’s a good idea to assign roles for each team member by recognizing his or her strengths and coordinating accordingly. Make sure each member knows what he or she is taking on and how it will be contributing to the overall goal.
You cannot start any sort of project or task without a plan. Get together to determine your objectives and how you are going to accomplish them. Setting goals in the beginning will allow you to make more specific strategies to achieve them and know who would be best to complete each task along the way. Making a plan will also ensure that you complete all the work on time.
An environment conducive to creativity and innovation is crucial for creating great work. Make sure that all team members feel a sense of belonging to the group and respect each other’s ideas. If members feel that they cannot share their ideas, you may pass up an opportunity to explore an idea that could lead you to a more successful outcome.
If you are working in a group, there may come a time when disagreements or issues arise between team members. The leader and other team members must be able to solve the issue in a mature and reasonable manner without jeopardizing the integrity of any member after the dispute. Handling these situations quickly and respectfully will help your team focus on the tasks at hand.
The team must be able to communicate effectively about the progress of the project. Everyone in the group should be able to easily contact any other member to ask questions or work together on part of a task. When in doubt, communicate what is going on with the leader or other group members and keep those lines of communication open during the extent of the project.
It’s important to make sure everyone is accountable for his or her work. This is often a combination of the leader checking in with the rest of the group and each member keeping track of the work he or she personally needs to complete. If the team uses both of these methods, all of the work should be accomplished according to the plan.
It is always helpful to have someone else review the work that you have completed for errors you may have missed. If there are many people in your group working on different parts of the project, it would be beneficial to create a review process to ensure that each part is being looked at by more than one person. You won’t regret taking the extra time to catch mistakes before you submit the final product.
Though it may not be necessary to hand out gold stars to each person who shares an idea at a meeting, giving recognition to those who accomplish outstanding work will empower the members of your group. When a member exerts a ton of effort into a task that produces a great end result, make sure they know it is appreciated. A simple “nice work on that design” may go a lot farther than you think.
What are your tips for working in a team setting?