At this point in the school year, most students find themselves full swing on one of the most-dread-of-all class assignments: the group project. We bemoan navigating group dynamics, schedule conflicts, and technology shortfalls. Wouldn’t a simple paper suffice? But remember, you will collaborate in your future career.
HINT: Educators create these assignments because teamwork, problem-solving, and communication are requirements in virtually any job.
According to the career experts at Glassdoor, many of the soft skills you hone during group work are the exact skills employers look for. Remember last time, when I told you about Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg’s policy of focusing on natural strengths? That’s code for soft skills. Working with others will help you succeed, both in class and on the job.
Know when to say thank you
Equally crucial to (grudgingly) sharpening our collaboration muscle is remembering to say thank you to our teammates for those ways they contribute to the project. Besides helping you to become a better communicator, they bring valuable alternative views to projects.
Moreover, your classmates today may be your coworkers tomorrow. After all, if you are in the same class, you likely have some career goals in common. Why not use these professor imposed connections to forge real world contacts?
TIP: Consider group work as networking 101.
Create a network of nice
Studies show that practicing gratitude can change your outlook for the better and help foster a community of people who support each other. Researchers published on the University of California, Berkeley’s site, Greater Good, asked, “Is Gratitude a Moral Affect”? They concluded—yes—gratitude is more than good manners; it motivates and reinforces empathetic behavior in the person practicing and the person receiving thanks.
The article noted that “the emotion of gratitude might also have motivational value, prompting grateful people to behave prosocially themselves…[motivating] reciprocal altruism.” In other words, gratitude can start a pay-it-forward-style social movement on campus and in your everyday life.
You never know when common courtesy could pay big dividends—in friendship or while networking. So, in the spirit of the season, go out and flex your “thank you” muscle. The Metro State community will be all the better for it.
Glassdoor is a site that allows you to search millions of jobs. They have an impressive portfolio of blog topics covering virtually every subject related to careers.
Greater Good, hosted by the University of California, Berkeley, offers tips, quizzes, videos, and articles on the human quest for happiness.
If you missed my last post, you can find out why knowing yourself is the key to school success here.