Self-Assessment: Working Within One Team

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I have a wide diverse skill set that can be applied in general situations, this is usually due to the nature of my previous specification where such a wide range of skills is required. To collect and adjust with current changes, to coordinate with teammates to cover a wide range of points for a chosen topic area and the presentation or a write up of a topic. This wide skill set does have it is downfall, however: the lack of specialisation and consistency of skills not covered, and jack-of-all-trades style means I am not, the best at the things I wanted to be. Teamwork for some of the units are required for the assessment; pitted into groups and given a choice from a small selection of topics within a subject area.

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As a group we brainstormed the contents of our topic, sorted it in a rough sequence for presentation then assigned each person, dividing up the roles to research an area. Assignments are usually based on the person’s interest within the topic, conflicting areas are usually resolved by getting a similar area or by chance (coin flip) – crude at best it works most of the times. In the context of making group presentations, Google slides from experience is an extremely effective tool to create presentations with multiple people. Changes a person made will appear live for others and the old school method of combining all the slides from separate works is non-existent. Further cooperation can arise from commenting on the notes or the elements made on the slide and the ‘live chat’ feature usually located on the bottom right side. When working with friends it becomes a lot easier due to how connected we are, using an application called Discord, we can share our thoughts and even use the voice channel for a meeting outside of school hours. To be able to surf for information and to present it in a concise manner somewhere around ten minutes, presentation of discovered information is required as a showcase of what you have learnt, therefore proper skills to present information without boring the audience is necessary and visual presentation must be clean without cluttered information to avoid the audience from fixating on the board and not you.

Skills of showmanship, handling the crowd for the purpose required, an example would be the numerous charity events I contributed; my role was not only organising what activities will be held but advertising it in front of an audience of an upcoming event – this is to elaborate on the contents but also injecting excitement into the crowd as a means to heighten participation rate. I often lead the main events as the announcer or commentator, which I continue this trend of making the crowd excited and into the action. In any project or piece of work, it is not a straight path, and often not something will go wrong or adjustments are required in order to further optimise the workflow. To adapt to any changes that may occur to prevent any disruption is something I find natural: laptop stopped working – fix it, in the meantime use the tablet. No internet – offline working, use of USBs/Hard Drives. It’s merely identifying the problem at hand and resolving in the most efficient method. To adaptively work is to dedicate to a project to it’s end; dedication is pouring hours into a project in large amounts with the maximum engagement but balancing with time constraints to further stress ideas out. An example from my experience would be the editing of videos – part of my ethos is the improvement and quality of work meaning these videos I make take between one to 3 months to finish, with 100 of hours poured into one video.

Four to Five hours at least in a day on a routine. A person being ‘good’ at everything is simply an unspecialised person with no proper direction, sure ambition takes a person a long way, however, if a person is directed by irrelevant skills for the chosen area of specialisation, it creates inconsistency, mistakes are more apparent and likely. I can present and have said skills in showmanship, however, I believe there is inconsistency within that area and that is mainly due to a lack of experience, so I would be making basic errors in presenting information, a simple example would be excessive use of fillers. Even if I am adaptable with my work, my ability to communicate with others in a consistent manner is rather poor – information will be omitted by sheer accident; dates can be skewed or keywords all wrong, etc… Showmanship is a vital skill to improve in general – the skill to showcase, perform or present gives you the confidence to control the crowd into your show. It is noticeable for a presenter to lack showmanship, evident by consistent fillers, lack of facial expression and no body control. This skill crosses over to not only work-related presentations but performance with card magic/cardistry. I may have some aspects of good showmanship I wish to continue to develop this skillset for both work and personal uses.

One of the aspects I know by heart I struggle with is the concept of ‘sync’, this is how well you can sync all your actions: vocal, visual, body, and facial actions. Synchronised actions create fluidity within the presentation, paired with a well-designed PowerPoint equates to a lower chance of the audience falling asleep. Retention is the other skill within showmanship, the ability to keep the audience engaged with the topic you are showcasing, a person cannot keep an audience engaged constantly or consistently will lose them after at least five minutes, resorting to going on the phone and scrolling down on Facebook. A loud projecting voice, a tone that spells confidence but not arrogance, keeps the audience interested in your topic. Under the role of prompted leadership I tend to perform just at the standard, I believe this is necessary is because there will be times when a group or team has no available leadership, having a rudimentary idea of leadership is fine in a way as such occurrences are often rare in the workplace unless it is regularly understaffed. However I want to develop this in an adaptable format in a way that allows me to pick it up when needed or when prompted in manager roles or some form of IT trainer; having a firm leadership is important that is something I lack, but it’s rudimentary roots are present, I am capable, but lack the experience or the tools to execute larger projects in the leadership role.

Stress handling is an important skill to develop, to further cope with large workloads or burden of work, being calm is important in order to break down each problem in a digestible format. A skill I know too well but I wish to improve for the purpose of my future career as a private contractor; to handle the burden of performing the task to the level you sell yourself as, and the ability to quickly adapt to the workplace with the colleagues I would be working with. With these set skills as foundations, I do not have much experience in solidifying them permanently – this current self-runs the risk of losing touch or become rusty with the corresponding skill set. Whilst relearning the skill will naturally be quicker I believe it is more efficient if I can still retain the skill set regardless, a permanent cement. That will lay the foundations for more advanced skills or complex concepts for the future. Much of the skills I want to improve require an extensive amount of time and their results do not appear instant working right from the outset. Some of them require failing or the experience of failure to progress forwards which is daunting at tackle. With the computer science course, I hope to narrow on my skillsets to further specialise but still retain that broad skill set in case needed. This is something that would develop over time, but quicker if pursuing different skills and furthering my specialisation more harshly. It’s merely a matter of gaining experience and learning from failure, a state I both enjoy and hate.

Showmanship, a skillset that comes to mind when it comes to further improvement, there are several methods to improve showmanship, there are a passive learning route and an active method, both can be intertwined for efficiency: passively learning showmanship is building the skills required overtime – this is achieved by several means: surfing the internet for techniques uses an example showcases and recording yourself (pretending you are live), this is to see how much filler you are using subconsciously and then evaluate on the vocabulary usage for an age group, then adapting on your audience’s age group. The active side would be real hands-on practice with presentations or hosting as an announcer (something similar), as mentioned before, someone who has an important role to retain the audience’s engagement.

Qualities of a good leader ties in good showmanship, those that lack, therefore, cannot lead, poor cohesion as a result then projects are botched because of low work morale. I wish to improve this skill in conjunction with showmanship as a backup skill for such scenarios that may happen. There may not always be a born leader in a group, and if that is the case I wish to fill that spot for such occasions. Being placed into groups without a leader in place will allow me to practise management skills for both short-term projects and long-term for the career. It comes down to experience and having it cemented as second nature, so I will not feel discomfort from right from the outset Even with the teamwork skills I have currently, I want to further this skill in a way that makes it adaptable in any work environment, this is purely to prepare for the future career I have a vague idea of; private contracting whilst the money is good, it requires the contractor to keep searching for jobs each time the contract ends, and that means moving from company to company.

To adapt to changing co-workers and to work in cohesion regardless of how stable a team is. I may adapt to the changing course of work within one team, but I may not be particularly strong with changing colleagues. I should try teamwork exercises in many areas as possible, I will be attending the next TUI hackathon which will put us into groups and hope to gain crucial experience from it. With a wide versatile skill means I can easily adapt them to different environments, familiar or not. What I lack is specialisation, consistency and experience. There are areas that need further improvements for industry standards; skills to obtain or relearn. However, with my current skill set, it takes time to improve, especially if it is something that requires experience (and failure) right from the outset. These skills must be refined until they are second nature, both basic and advanced – and dedication to such is not easy or plain sailing.

18 May 2020

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