CAREER ADVANCEMENT / APR. 08, 2014
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How to Quickly Tackle New Skills as a Team

There comes a time in every person's life when they are forced to learn skills that are completely new to them. To make things worse, they often are forced to learn them right alongside other newbies as well. It's tough enough to learn something new on your own, but trying to find a way to become compatible with other people while acquiring new skills can be very tough.

Acquire New Skills as a Team

Here are five ways for you to get those new skills while still being able to work in a team:

Find compatibility

The truth is that you're not going to be 100% compatible with everyone in the world--hardly anyone in fact. The only way that you'll be able to learn in a team is if you're willing to work with the people learning alongside you. Find the areas in which you are compatible, and focus on those. Let those things bond you as a team, and use that bond to promote a healthy learning environment among you.

Learn in a team

No matter what you're learning, it's always best if you work with others as you learn. If you all go off and try to figure things out on your own, you'll have very different interpretations when you combine your knowledge. The more unified you are during the learning process, the easier it will be to work together once you have honed the skill.

Switch things up

You'd be amazed by how much you can learn when you're thrown into a totally new mixture of people. Those that were weak in one group may find that they're much stronger in another group, or those with the loudest opinions may be drowned out by even louder people in new groups. If you want to learn skills quickly, rotate the groups so that each person can take advantage of a fresh environment created by unique combinations of people.

Share progress

No matter how fast or slow you learn, always share your progress with those learning alongside you. You may find some of the concepts you find easy are much harder for the others to pick up, whereas someone else may be able to explain a tough concept in such a way that it is very easy for you to understand. Weekly progress reports from each participant can help the group stay apprised of the overall progress, and can help identify the stronger and weaker members of the group.

Don't be the "best"

You are all learning together, and it's something you're all totally new to. Don't try to be the smartest or the best one in the room, but be willing to admit that you're going to make mistakes. If you struggle so hard to outperform all those around you, you're going to fall short in your learning. Instead, just learn at your own pace, and be thankful if you end up being the smartest person in the room.

Acquiring new skills is stressful for anyone, and it multiplies when you are learning as a team. The five tips above can help you to learn new skills in a way that promotes the success of all, not just your own personal progress.

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