September 19, 2020

How to successfully work in groups

Working in groups is one of those things where it can either be great, or awful. The worst part is that it totally depends on who is in your group. If the people are reliable and you can trust them to do their part, then it is usually pretty good.

However, if it turns out that you are the only person who cares about the assignment, then it is a less-than-excellent experience and you end up doing the same amount of work that you would have done anyway. Except now you’re carrying around multiple bodies worth of dead weight.

I got a more detailed explanation from Maria Pickerill, a sophomore communications major.

Photo courtesy of Maria Pickerill

“People pursue their education in different ways with different work ethics,” Pickerill said. “There’s a range of attitudes towards gen eds.”

It is quite possible that people that have this rather lack-luster attitude toward general education classes because they may feel that they are not all that important and do not really have a lot to do with their major.

However, the attitude toward working in groups in a workplace environment is quite different. 

Maria also pointed out that “you are getting paid to do quality work” she said. “Typically, there is a manager or boss of some kind that delegates the work and the different employees in the group.”

So how do you get around this?

One solution is to just take charge and do the entire assignment by yourself.

Gabriella Schnaidt, a sophomore social work and Spanish double major, weighed in.

“If someone is lacking and I know they aren’t going to do it, then I just do it, because it’s just easier, quicker, less conflict involved,” she said. 

Schnaidt, photo taken by Josh Conturo.

Schnaidt also brought up the idea of communicating and keeping in touch with the people in her group.

“I just started texting like ‘hey guys working on this now!’ so that I could be like I’m working on it, you should be working on it, wink wink, nudge nudge,” Schnaidt said.

Dr. Betsy Pike, assistant professor in the media department, gave another example.

“Keep groups small, I would say three or less, then it is harder to have someone riding coattails … I have learned throughout the years, if you have more than two to three people in a group, someone does not do anything,” Pike said.

Dr. Pike, photo taken by Josh Conturo.

Another possibility is that the professors get involved in the actual making and accountability of the group.

“They need to have better guidelines for what is expected of each individual in the group, they need to have check-ins with the group members individually,” Pickerill said.

Regardless of which strategy you choose to work on a group project, whether it be in a place of business or education, it is important to remember to do your part and to communicate with the other people that you are working with. Also, if worse comes to worse, you could more than likely always go to the professor or your employer for help.

  • Josh Conturo is a reporter for the Chimes and a sophomore studying emerging media with an emphasis on journalism, and loves all things related to cars, coffee, and comedy.

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