Preventing Chaotic Group Projects

By Courtney Lang

“This project will be done in groups of three to four people…”

Hearing a teacher say that your next project will be done in groups can either be a sense of joy or the feeling that the world is about to collapse from underneath you. Learning how to deal with tough predicaments within groups is highly important in order to minimize the destruction that may take place.

Here are 3 kinds of people you may encounter in a group project, and how to handle them:

       1.  Procrastinator

We’re all college students, and we all know that a majority of us have become experts in the art of procrastinating. Normally that’s fine as long as you can get the tasks done before the due date; however, the ability to procrastinate goes out the window when you’re in a group project. Procrastinators are so accustomed to doing work whenever they feel like it, and not having a team rely on them.   

Handling Procrastinators?

Throughout a group project, make sure there is a clear schedule laid out for everyone. If someone admits to being a procrastinator consider making their due date a few days before the group actually needs it. Additionally, remind them when everything is due as well as the importance of needing it to be done on time. 

       2.  Control Freak

There are some people who like to control every aspect of a group project because at the end of the day they just don’t trust their other group members. These people can make a group project horrific because the other members feel like they are being chained by the neck.

Handling Control Freaks?

You have to remind them that they are not alone and that the group has to work as a team in order to get the best results. Although it comes with some conflicting thoughts, five heads are still better than one.

       3.  The Silent Type

There are often times where someone will not say a word the entire at a group meeting. This may because they are either shy or confused about what’s going on. Either way, their lack of contribution to the group can become frustrating to everyone involved in the project.

Handling the Silent Type?

You should frequently ask them what they think about a topic. If that person feels like they are needed within the group, they are less likely to hold all their ideas back. Let them know that there are no back ideas and anything that they say will help lead the group to their best end result.

Avoiding Conflicts From the Very Start

In order to hopefully avoid having these kinds of people emerge within your group, there are a few discussion points that are essential for you to have before you start your project:

  • Define what your group considers to be a good as well as a bad group
  • Set goals as a team
  • Discuss your strengths and weaknesses
  • Take a teamwork assessment in order to distinguish your roles as individuals

Not only do these discussion points give you a better understanding of who you are, but they also give you the opportunity to understand who your teammates are. If everyone within your group is on the same page from the very start, it will help the overall execution of the project go a lot smoother than if you weren’t.

Group projects will not disappear once you graduate and that is especially true within the advertising industry. At some point, you’ll have to work with someone whose group dynamic you don’t particularly care for, but knowing how to handle it is essential. Pay close attention to what kinds of people you work best with and who you can’t seem to get along with. You can apply this to the real world when you look for a job in order to find the best environment that suits you.

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