College students hate group work.

I hear plenty of griping from my students about group projects and group presentations, and I have to admit: I felt the same way at their age. Depending on others is hard! Can’t I just do it myself?

But we all discover the same thing once we enter the working world:

All work is group work.

The idea of the lone wolf—Sorry, I work alone—may be romantic, but it’s a fantasy. Now, more than ever before, our success depends on our ability to work with others. Instant worldwide connectivity has made sure of that. And what makes a person good at working with others? A few traits:

  • the capacity to put our ideas aside and embrace someone else’s
  • a willingness to share credit (or even better, give it away)
  • an ability to make others feel that their voice is heard

These aren’t really traits; they’re skills. They can be learned. If your group work skills have atrophied a bit (as mine have), give them some attention over the next week. Think about your current projects and how you could interact more generously with your colleagues, clients, or even your students.

A few adjustments might yield serious results.