Leadership in group projects

I’m sure the title of this post will scare some people away, because some people can’t stand the stress of group projects. Once you find that idea you all agree upon, you may find yourself having a hard time just getting the project started. It doesn’t matter whether you are doing a school project, or a long task assigned from work. The results can always end up being the same, and you find yourself spiraling into a procrastination tidal wave for the lack of other people’s time and effort. This can be rather painful and detrimental to your overall performance when you have to rely on others to help you succeed. I’ve been dealing with a few group projects that have been significantly overwhelming this school term because of the lack of good communication skills. That is why I want to analyze the ways you can improve your way of working with others in the most effective, rational ways possible.

First, lets analyze the PROS and CONS of group projects:

THE PROS

  • You can divide the work up into parts, so you don’t have to carry the heavy burden of a big project on your own. Especially if it’s a task with a short time frame.
  • You can bounce more ideas off each other. It’s true that two minds can be better than one!
  • You have the opportunity to meet new people that may share common interests as you. I’ve had experiences where I have met somebody I was somewhat compatible with, and it allowed me to choose my groups more carefully if I had the choice to do so.
  • If your interested in Leadership or becoming a better communicator, this may be a good opportunity for you to improve your skills and learning new ways of talking to others.

THE CONS

  • Some (or all) of the people in your group may choose not to show their capabilities. Keep in mind though… the reasons for showing that lack of performance could involve their personal life, their work loads, or a lack of motivation for the overall idea of the project flow.
  • You have to check in with people in your group constantly about how they are doing, while also dealing with the stress of not hearing back from them.
  • Someone may not understand the instructions of the project, and may perform their tasks poorly for being too bashful asking for help. It’s hard to admit you don’t know something, but it can put a dent on your productive flow if you wait too long to inform others.

Here are a few ideas I have tried throughout the term, that can help you handle the terrifying CONS of group projects:

If they aren’t getting back to you, bug them. Email them. Try calling or text them. Whatever it takes to get a hold of the person you need to talk to, don’t stop bugging them until they respond.

No matter how frustrated you may be, do NOT get aggressive with them. That could give your teammate the idea you don’t value their opinions or ideas, and they may not even respond to you at all after that. If you haven’t heard from them in a while, be sure to express how much you care about their portion of the project, and let them know you are concerned because you haven’t heard from them in a while.

Ask them if everything’s okay, and how they are doing on their side of the project. As I said above, sometimes personal life can interfere with productivity. It’s good to make sure they know they can tell you what’s going on in their lives and that you are human enough to understand those circumstances. Help them out. Let them know you would appreciate it if they could send you pieces of their project they had already completed so you can figure out exactly where they’re at.

If all those steps fail, talk to you instructor or the person who assigned the project. Explain to that person you tried to get a response from your teammates, but everything you tried failed to reach your group. Most of the time, they can give you some extra pointers on how to motivate them or give you tips about how to manage the project so it gets done within the deadline.

Have you every had any problems with group projects? What kinds of communication strategies have you tried that was effective for meeting your deadlines?

Hope you find some of these ideas helpful for your current and future group productions!

AbnormallyDesigned