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Undergraduate Advice - 7 Mistakes To Avoid When Learning How To Work In A Team
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Undergraduate Advice - 7 Mistakes to Avoid When Learning How to Work In A Team

At some point in your degree studies you will be given a group assignment and you will have to learn how to work in a team. Although you may have worked in teams when you were still at school or even through some part-time work, it can be quite a different experience at university, particularly when you’re being awarded team marks rather than individual.

You may find that you’re working with students that you don’t know very well and you wouldn’t have chosen to work with. However it’s important that you make an effort to be fully involved as the skills you’ll learn through this process are ones that employers will be looking for you to demonstrate in the future. You should always keep note of your experiences and what you've learnt. This information will be useful when you're writing personal statements or answering questions in a job interview.

Listed below are 7 mistakes that you should avoid making when working in a team.

1. Not listening – Make sure that you don't try to do all the talking and that you listen carefully when other people are giving their views. If you only half listen to what’s going on, you can miss some important information or misunderstand what someone has said which can then lead to unnecessary disagreements. Listening skills are key to successful team working.

2. Don’t contribute – There may be occasions when you don’t have as much to say, but if you don’t contribute to the team regularly, you could cause friction with other team members, if they think you're not bothered.

3. Dismiss other team members – Don’t ever ridicule or automatically dismiss or ignore other people’s views. The most successful teams are where all members have the opportunity to express their views and are listened to.

4. Initiate arguments – There’s a big difference between having differences of opinion and putting forward your views in a constructive manner rather than initiating pointless arguments with other members of the team. Make sure you understand the difference, and don't ague just for the sake of it.

5. Are unreliable – If you've agreed that you'll do certain work to a specific deadline, make sure that you don't miss it. It’s not good for you and it will cause resentment in the team. If you think you might miss a deadline you need to talk to the other team members.

6. Don’t work to acceptable standard – Remember when you’re working in a team, you will be marked as a team. It’s important that your work is the best it can be.

7. Don’t raise difficulties – Working in a team can be very challenging, so if you are experiencing any difficulties, make sure you raise them. Successful teams don't hide difficulties, they sort them out.


When you’re working in a team, it’s important that you contribute fully, you learn to compromise when necessary and you get on with other members of the team. If there are difficulties make sure you raise them in a calm manner. It’s up to you to make sure that your experience is as successful as possible.

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