Once you get to university, you’ll realise that group work has become an increasingly popular form of assessment. Working in groups has become essential in schools, universities and even organisations. It is stressful work. Not every member shares the same techniques or works at the same pace as yours and some members don’t contribute at all. This can create conflict and affect the quality of your work overall. Therefore, it is crucial to know how to make it past these issues. I have done my fair share of group work since I came to Leicester. Some of these have been great experiences while the others, not so good. I am going to give you some advice on how to tackle and prevent some of the problems that can arise while working in a group.
a) Get to know each other
It is great to get to work as soon as possible. But it is equally important to get to know each other first. Spend the first 10-15 minutes of your first meeting introducing yourselves to each other. It gets everyone comfortable in each other’s company and encourages every member to contribute. Also, if you have a problem later on, you can negotiate face to face without feeling awkward. Clear communication is key.
b) Respect each other’s opinion
Disagreement is inevitable when working in a group. Not every member will agree with what the other has to say. It is important to listen and consider each other’s opinions. Do not interrupt while the other member is talking even if you are in disagreement with what they are saying. Let the other members know that you are listening and appreciate their input through actions such as nodding and smiling. Focus on the content and try and link everyone’s ideas. Try not to dominate the group. Consider everyone’s feelings and give constructive feedback. If you, at some point, are criticised, don’t take it too personally. Handle it with maturity and ask the member(s) to elaborate on their feedback so you can improvise.
This is important. I have mentioned in almost all my posts that organisation is fundamental to success. It is very easy to lose focus when working in a group. Therefore, it is a good idea to agree on how the group will communicate and work together. With the advancement of technology, this should not be very difficult. Share each other’s email addresses and phone numbers during the first meeting. Create a group chat on your phones or any social media and keep in touch through that. Decide a day, time and venue for your meetings that is accessible to everyone. Make sure everyone is attending all the meetings. In case, someone misses the meeting, don’t forget to fill them up on what they missed. Create a realistic schedule to fulfil your assigned task.
Group work can be very stressful and requires hard work. But if you communicate and organise efficiently, success is guaranteed. I hope this was of help. Share some of your tips in the comment section below!
Peace out! 🙂