Teamwork In Your Career: 5 Lessons From Monsters University

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Mike and Sulley enrolled in Monsters University this past weekend. Both Disney monsters enter college with the same goal in mind: to become a scarer. They enter the right program and take all the right classes, but class is not enough to prove themselves. They also join fraternities in order to compete in the annual “Scare Games.” The winning sorority or fraternity gets crowned the best scarers in the school (quite the resume-builder).

In order to win the tournament, they have to work as a team within their fraternity. This is a challenge because both monsters think they have what it takes to succeed on their own.

During the film, Mike and Sulley learn a lot about effective teamwork. This is good news for job seekers because teamwork is one of the most sought-after soft skills by employers. Here are five lessons in teamwork from Monsters University (with minimal spoilers):

1. Establish Goals.

In Monsters University, Mike and Sulley both want to prove they’re the best scarers. These goals conflict with those of the rest of their team, so it ultimately leads to disaster. When they realize this problem, they re-evaluate their goals.

In real life, it’s important to establish clear goals that everyone on the team can understand. The team should be committed to achieving these goals — together. If not everyone is on the same page, interests will clash and you will be further from your goals than ever. Stick to the mission.

2. Communicate.

During one of the competitions in the Scare Games, the team has to work together to complete a task completely in complete silence. They develop a system of communication in order to accomplish this. Throughout the entire games, communication skills are essential to success as a team.

In real life, strong communication is essential to teamwork. Whether it’s related to specific tasks or overall success, communication needs to be open, honest, and respectful. This means team members are listening to each other and asking lots of questions. Effective communication leads to strong understanding, which leads to success.

3. Use Individual Strengths.

Oozma Kappa is a fraternity made up of a unique group of misfit monsters. Don Carlton is an adult learner and founder of the fraternity. Scott “Squishy” Squibbles is nervous and quiet. Art is an eccentric philosophy major. Terri and Terry Perry are siblings who share the same body and fight all of the time. And of course, there’s Mike Wazowski and James P. “Sulley” Sullivan, who we know from the first film, Monsters Inc. In the new film, these guys have to use their strengths to work together to win the Scare Games.

In real life, it’s important to take advantage of individual strengths like Oozma Kappa. Each person has a unique background, experiences, and skills to contribute. Use these differences to your benefit. You will find more creativity in diversity.

4. Follow The Leader.

Mike is the one who decides Oozma Kappa has a chance in the Scare Games in the first place. He is determined to win the tournament, so the rest of the team follow his instructions during the tasks. Even Sulley, who is reluctant at first, sees the benefits of having a leader like Mike.

In real life, it is important for teams to have a strong leader. Having a leader gives a team some more effective organization. That said, it is important for the leader to listen to the ideas of every team member. A team that becomes unhappy with its leader will be unsuccessful. Balance is key.

5. Everyone Matters.

Part of the reason Oozma Kappa work together so well is because each member feels important to the team. Being in the fraternity makes the mistfits feel important and part of something bigger. The sense of belonging is imperative.

In real life, being on a team creates feelings of acceptance and trust among. It is important to make sure every member of your team feels like they matter. Once a team has these feelings, they can take bigger risks and achieve bigger goals.

Teamwork is extremely important when in comes to your career. It is one of the most important soft skills to have, ask any employer. In Monsters University, Mike and Sulley show us the good and bad ways to work together to achieve a goal. Keep these things in mind the next time you’re working in a team.

Aside from teamwork, what are some other lessons you learned from Monsters University?

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