In the classroom, students are usually judged on their individual ability to successfully learn new material. They rely on their own know-how and self-discipline for everything from studying to passing tests.
But with such an intense focus on individual performance, how can students develop the skills needed to work as part of a team?
Teamwork is just one of the many soft skills automotive students should learn. It’s also essential for any automotive shop to run smoothly. So, what can you do to ensure that your students know how to work well in a team environment?
Besides simply assigning them to teams, you can actively encourage the skills that make teamwork easier, such as collaboration, respect, and trust.
For the most part, your students already understand the meaning of collaboration from their own friendships and group projects. However, that doesn’t mean they’re skilled in successful team behaviors like giving and receiving constructive feedback.
If you want to teach students important skills that foster good collaboration, encourage them to:
- Be open to new ideas, especially from classmates
- Share their own ideas and questions
- Be mindful when giving feedback
- Be receptive when getting feedback
- Always follow through in their individual roles and responsibilities
- Give credit to other team members when it’s due
To help students practice these skills, they should be able to define their specific roles and responsibilities when performing a task with classmates. Then, each member of a team should understand what is expected of them and be able to follow through to meet a common goal.
Teach Respectful Behavior
Your students will have a hard time learning to work together if they don’t know how to express themselves respectfully and support their team members. Help students learn how to put aside their differences and be mindful of their actions, no matter who their team members are.
As an instructor, some of the behaviors you should encourage in your students are:
- Politeness when others share an opinion
- Supporting the success of team members
- Practicing good manners when sharing a workspace, such as cleaning up after themselves and putting tools away properly
Emphasize the Importance of Trust
How can a team function if some members don’t trust each other to do the work properly?
Part of your goal as an instructor is to prepare students for employment, which also means teaching them how to work alongside a diverse group of people. Remind your students that it’s important to trust their team members. If they run into a problem, they should always remain respectful and offer help if needed.
Most importantly, students should focus on trusting their own abilities in any situation. This means:
- Always being a reliable worker
- Taking responsibility for and apologizing for their own mistakes
- Supporting team members with help and encouragement
Above all, the best way to ensure that your students know how to work as part of a team in their future careers is to teach them how to work with people they might not get along with. Remind students that their future co-workers might not be their friends, but that doesn’t mean they can’t work well together.
Want to ensure your students have even more opportunity to hone their teamwork skills?
Consider adding the CDX Employment Readiness course to your current program.