If you’ve spent a lot of time on assigned teams (hello, MBA students), you know that some people are a nightmare to work with and other people a dream.
Want to be one of those dream team members? Do this:
Do what you say you will do. Seems like a given, but that’s not always the case. There are so many things going on when you’re a student, and sometimes not everyone is prepared for meetings or does the full work that they say they will do by the following meeting. Try not to be that person.
If the expectation is to read a case by the next group meeting, do it. If you volunteer to look up information before the next team meeting, do it. If you’re the team member who is always prepared, reliable and consistent, that great reputation will follow you and so will opportunities.
Be positive and supportive. No one wants to work alongside a Debbie Downer, so try not to get too negative. You can be realistic and not overly positive, but it’s important to keep morale on teams up. A positive attitude can go a long way toward that. Recognize when team members contribute good work or when the team overall does well. It’s important to recognize wins, especially when it can be much easier to only see the bad.
Actively listen. A lot of teamwork involves listening to team members and being able to find common ground between varying opinions. To do that, you must be willing to listen to differing opinions. Remember, the goal isn’t being “right;” the goal is for the team to do well. That means listening to everyone and seriously considering all viewpoints. If you keep an open mind and listen to your teammates, you will be appreciated by your teammates and will contribute to an environment that supports group success.
Be honest. Be upfront about your strengths, but be honest about what you can’t do. If you aren’t great at quantitative work, be vulnerable with your team and admit it. Your team will appreciate the honesty and may be willing to help in balancing things out. If you tell the team you’re great at something, be sure you do a great job at it.
Be on time. You’re busy. Everyone on your team is too. When there’s a meeting, arrive on time. It’s better for everyone if meetings can start on time and end on time. If you’re going to be late, apologize, do your best to catch up and not slow the team down. And consider bringing food and/or coffee to soften the blow.
–By Samprithi “Sammy” Santosh. Santosh is a 2021 MBA candidate with a concentration in marketing. She worked in advertising as an account manager in Richmond, Va., before moving to Maryland to pursue her MBA.