Double Fault: What Happens When a Group Lacks Communication and Teamwork

5 Feb

Ask anyone who has played a team sport and they will tell you that communication is key and that the “whole is greater than the sum of the parts” (Aristotle). My high school tennis coach drilled this point into my head. Although I always preferred singles, I was somehow stuck playing doubles. Both my doubles partner and I were solid singles players and yet, we would somehow lose to teams that we should have utterly crushed. Each loss taught me that without communication, even the best doubles teams will lose, and no matter how good we are individually, we would never overcome teams who played as a single unit.

Talk to your Teammate
In any team environment, teammates must communicate with one another. Without fluid interaction, team members will go off doing whatever they think they need to do, throwing the entire team into disarray. In doubles tennis, you notice that you need to constantly communicate with your partner after every point. Although doubles tennis has little in common with working for a business, employees in a company are essentially a doubles team, with each employee covering their area of the court, or business. This fluid communication aspect should apply to any workplace.

The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts
I’ve done it. You’ve done it. We’ve all done it. We’ve heard our professors telling us over and over that instead of splitting up projects and delegating the different parts to team members, we should work on each part as a team. I disagree. I actually think this strategy is efficient because few groups have the time to sit together and research an entire project? However, I do think it’s bad to simply split up a project, assign different parts to team members, and never communicate until the very last moment where you need to consolidate. In doubles tennis, both players could certainly cover their halves of the court, never communicate, and play “okay,” but if you want to play well, you find that this strategy, simply put, just sucks. The same applies to team projects. A project, until the moment it’s turned in, is a work in progress, so if you need help with your part, ask your team mates! Even if your teammates don’t need help, ask them what they’ve done and bounce some ideas. Ultimately, always remember that a group projects is not an individual project, in which you can simply do your part and get a good grade.

To some, doubles tennis is four guys standing on a court and hitting a tennis ball, but it’s essentially a series of conversations happening at both ends of the court. Anyways, to end with a memorable quote, here’s my favorite basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan, “talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”

by Hansol Yoon

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