In the shadow of the Florida Engineering Education Conference, I find my thoughts rolling back over the challenge expressed from the podium during the panel of engineers. The challenge: pulling all the system technical experts of the team together. This is a big frustrating challenge evidently from the number of times it was highlighted from the panel of system professionals.
Perhaps one of the experts on the team snatched the reigns and didn’t care to hear your idea. It could have been that a couple of you were like minded to jump into the task even though the team was saddled with a quiet loafer who lacked the communication confidence to pull their weight of ideas into the team dialogue to solve the problem at task. You could add fourteen other scenarios because you’ve been there and survived a disappointing experience on a team.
In the technology driven age of STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math), teachers shift from the textbook driven lesson to an improved hands-on discovery experience from bell-to-bell. But team dynamics is not an instinctive skill. Plus, high performing students have been trained to perform and compete on their own merits of solving the math equation or being the first to finish the bubble test with 100% proficiency.
Unraveling the threads of personal accomplishment that have been worn as a cloak of pride is one tough task for the next generation of STEM teachers. Going back to “marketing basics 101” is one way to put the F.U.N in team accomplishments, while keeping the dysfunction out.
The whole concept of a team is to combine ideas and resources. The etiquette of empowering each resource to share their solutions should be the thread that binds the team together. The expectation of etiquette to exchange their valued ideas is a must. Do you remember when our national mantra was “no child left behind?” The best performing teams leave no one behind.
There is research to support the networking-leads-to-success outcome. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that collaborative groups who conversed easily with equal participation were more efficient at completing sets of given tasks. Their research demonstrated better results from the teams who communicated equally compared to the groups dominated by individuals.
For the good of the team, speak up and share your genius.