March 21, 2017

3 Steps to Being a Better Compromiser/Collaborator

In school, you either loved group projects, or you hated group projects. I don't think I've ever heard anyone say that group projects are "just okay." I'll spare you the gritty details of all of my past (and present) college group project woes, but not every group project will end up a one-woman show. Especially as we get older, and especially in professional settings, group members take things more seriously and put in their best, or at least their better, effort.

Good comprising and listening skills are the keys to success when it comes to working with others. But... if you're not a people person, collaborative projects can be difficult. There are some things you should keep in mind, some guidelines, if you will, if you're going to make it work. I've come up with three.

+ Reflect on the purpose of the task at hand. 

Is it a graded class project or a big work presentation? Does it further a personal interest? On the contrary, could it hurt a personal interest if things went wrong? The nature of the collaboration can help you to determine whether a compromise is just a compromise or if you're selling yourself short by settling (Tweet it!). Knowing the difference is critical to being a better collaborator because you're able to hustle accordingly.

If the project is worth half of your overall grade in a class, or your department is riding on it, then realistically, you're going to have to compromise. When there's a hard deadline, you don't have much of a choice. When the deadline is softer, and you have more flexibility in how something gets done, you can take more time to consider options that will make everyone happy.

+ Envision the end result.

And what it will take to get there. Is it possible to get there when everyone is arguing different points and wants to take different approaches? Or do you need to streamline to get it done? If you were working alone, what steps would you take? Share these steps with your group members to gauge whether anyone else is on the same page.

+ Put yourself into someone else's shoes. 

I know, I know. So cliché. And maybe you know that your plan is the best one and that it's rock-solid. I'm not suggesting that you try to view things from someone else's perspective because let's be real: that is not easy. And honestly? If you've thought long and hard on an idea, you should not have to modify it too much if you know, in your gut, that it's the right thing to take action on.

What I am suggesting is that you think about how frustrating it is when others don't listen to, or don't want, your ideas. Keep an open mind when listening to group members/collaborators because you want that same respect when you're pitching your ideas.

How are you working at becoming a better compromiser/collaborator?


  1. Great points to take into perspective. Group projects are a pain but I think they are just preparing us for the real world!

    1. Thanks, Emily! Group projects definitely are practice for the "real world," painful as they may be haha.

  2. I must say I hate group projects in college. I think the most important thing I've learned to do is not be upset when some of my ideas aren't used and just taking a step back and letting other people be in charge of some things.

    Madison // Mads Maybe

    1. I am not a fan, either. This post was actually inspired by recent/current group project issues. It's hard to not get upset, especially when your ideas aren't used or when you're the one running the show because no one else is holding up their end, but successfully executing a group project is an awesome feeling.


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