15 December 2017 | Category: Education

The art of teamwork

By Ibnu Budiman

Student MSc Environmental Sciences

I lean back to reconsider the exhausting period of the course Academic Consultancy Training (ACT). I found that the lesson learnt for me is experience to work with a difficult team that is slightly discouraging me. It made me frustrated, but then I turned my frustrations into something productive which is improving my soft skills. I very much enjoyed the process. It notices me about the importance of interpersonal skills. These skills support the group works, it is the key enabling condition for playing art for a teamwork.

My learning goals in the ACT remain to be important goals personally for me in future group work. The Future of Jobs report by the World Economic Forum mentioned that three of ten important skills in workforce till 2020 are; emotional intelligence, negotiation, and cognitive flexibility. These skills fit with my learning goals. Therefore, I will keep all the goals;

  1. to contribute to group learning process in order to handle interpersonal relationship (emotional intelligence) in working environment;
  2. to negotiate ideas and interest; and
  3. to have ability to think about multiple concepts simultaneously, which is the cognitive flexibility.

Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligenceIn the group meetings, I had to let everybody in the group to speak their opinion. I also tried to facilitate quality of turn-taking conversation when someone talked too much. It was dilemmatic, because I had to do both; giving the group opportunity for learning process and ensure time management is ideal for the project- for discussion and work on the product.

My ACT project was studying about how citizen can innovate in the clean energy transition in Europe. I like the topic of the project because I had work experience about it and I will continue work on it. This reason makes me becoming self-assured, goal-oriented, consistent and steadfast in the group. Yet I had to adapt with the group’s goal and its system. I tried my best to be considerate about team members’ goals and feelings. The ACT taught me about importance of process to build a good and cooperative team as precondition to achieve a good end product. It can be done by providing well formulated and constructive feedback. It helps to nudge people towards more desirable behaviour, and to manage that the division of tasks and the project planning suits the composition of the team.

My attitude changes positively, all the experiences with the group are learning process in communication and personal development skill. I did pro-active listening when I listened to explanation about something new for me. Yet I didn’t really do it when I listened about their perspectives about the topic, because I thought I know it better. I should listen more pro-active, to welcome all the ideas to work together as a group.


This topic is interlinked with emotional intelligence. Being flexible and considerate are not enough, I should also be pro-active listening and being more convincing (not by force, but by argument) and determined and committed (not giving up) to the discussion. I should be able to help to evaluate the team, project management and the product. My experience should help to come up with facilitating support to the team/project. It is not just I write something and present it to the team, but it should be a result of dialogue with the team, from two-ways directive communication.

In the dialogue, I couldn’t only observe, assemble, think and come with a balanced plan that others can accept. Because then still it is my proposal. It brought resistance from the group if they have to always accept proposal from the same person. Therefore, I need to do brainstorming by asking questions and sometimes bending with the wind, it could be a more fruitful approach where in the end, more of my ideas can be accepted. The brainstorming approach was effective. I kept trying this approach as much as I could in the following meetings and discussions. I found it a more convincing way to present an idea and I supposed to do it earlier or more often in the group.

I recognize that being smart is not enough. I have to be able as well to convince people with idea. I have to put enough reasoning, justification and explanatory information in the presentation of my ideas. I shouldn’t be too concise in my explanation. What is crystal clear to me because I have the experience is not necessarily clear to others, exactly because they do not share that experience. I need to explain more why and try to see from their perspectives or position. I really should improve my negotiation skill to prepare better communication style and behavior to convince the group.

Cognitive flexibility

Cognitive flexibilityI derived more knowledge and theoretical framework or approach from the ACT project. I did interview the experts to get information about their opinion on research gaps in citizen energy initiatives. I also did literature reviews from journal papers that shed light upon the development of social innovation in the energy sector in Europe. The result triggered me to integrate different concepts of social innovation, systemic change and energy transition in the project.

My coginitive flexibility had positive effect to the project, it made me able to explain to the group about three interconnected drivers in social innovation and three types of citizen energy initiatives. This knowledge helps my other learning goals, so I have content and more reasoning and justification toward my ideas when I presented it to the group. It enhanced my individual functioning in product and process to bring convincing idea to the team.


From the ACT, I have learned about the art of teamwork: emotional intelligence in contributing to group learning processes, negotiation skill in communicating ideas and cognitive flexibility from thinking about different concepts (energy transition, social innovation and SWOT management). It also lead me to an idea for my PhD research topic that I have to write next year. This experience provides me a lesson learnt about how to convince people with better idea. A good idea alone is not sufficient, I also have to use ability to negotiate the idea through good communication skills, otherwise, the good idea is not being used.

“In science, the credit goes to the man who convinces the world, not to the man to whom the idea first occurs” – Sir Francis Darwin (Son of Charles Darwin)

This is my art of teamwork, what is your art in teamwork?

By Ibnu Budiman

Student MSc Environmental Sciences

There is one comment.

  1. By: Saskia · 19-12-2017 at 20:50

    Beautiful reflection! Thanks for sharing

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *