By Diana Maricruz Perez Santos
Teamwork is inevitably part of our lives. Although each of us is unique and incomparable, when we combine forces with others to achieve a common end it is definitely an enriching experience if it is well done. Here are a bit of my perceptions on this topic.
Working a year in food industry before deciding to study postgraduate allowed me to experience some of the way they’re working. See in action all management strategies and quality assurance, coupled with the philosophy of “no one here is indispensable” (translation: we won’t hesitate to fire you) make me see teamwork like getting in a moving car. Things are already established and running and you must run to catch up. I use the word “run” because time is money, and no business wants to lose. No lie, it’s hard to get into the car. But once inside, you can get the opportunity to drive.
Why can’t we be friends?
Now, maybe you might think that teamwork in a school or a research center is a romantic dinner with Jason Statham. Well, in my experience failing to divide the whole work in equal parts and the lack of initiative always are causes for conflict. A little bit of ego and a dash of “not full responsibility” are the main factors to destroy all the good intentions of the team.
Here’s the reason for the title, all that we perceive from others is a reflection of our attitudes toward them. It is always rewarding to share a cake with everyone and have a great time, instead of eating the cake alone and having stomach pain all night. Empathy for others is a quality that we must learn to develop when working in teams.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (my real life case)
Finally I want to share my experience as a team leader. It is no secret that I’ve always been an OFG at school. By twist of fate when I cursed Organic Chemistry II in college, I had to approach the lead of laboratory equipment known as “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” (In Mexico the extraordinary test is the last chance to approve a subject and these guys were known to always present this kind of exam).
You could say it was my vocation and I am a natural leader, but it wasn’t the case. The fear of losing my scholarship (My average could not be less than 9.5) made me find out how to work together. There was no magic recipe; I told them with the truth. The subject forced us work as a team and it was practically impossible for me to synthesize the 20 products (soap, acetylsalicylic acid, polymers …) and prepare reports throughout the semester.
At the end of the semester keeping my scholarship was not the greatest satisfaction for me. For the first (and only) occasion “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” weren’t an extraordinary test list. We did not taste a sweet 10 in our file, but we did work well and deliver the work on time. Like a proud mother, one of them still keeps oat soap that we manufactured.
Teamwork gives us an opportunity to know others and ourselves. No matter what role we play in this, the goal is always to improve. What do you think? How does teamwork play a role in your academic or professional life?
Photo Credit: http://www.dragonbridgecapital.com/category/teamwork/