Dealing with Groupmates


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Group projects are a necessary evil all students/professional will face in their careers. There are obvious benefits to group projects, such brainstorming, collaboration, and sharing the workload. However, in my experience, group projects are always a disaster. In this blog I cover some of the people you will be teamed up with and how to deal with them.

  1. The Capable Absentees

The first, and in my opinion, worst kind of groupmates are the capable absentees. These groupmates are very capable of contributing to the goal of the project, but always seem to have other obligations that prevent them from contributing. These people are very difficult to deal with, as they are generally pretty adept at their practice. These people have been practicing their excuses for years, and always make it difficult for you to call bullshit.  Maybe if they put as much effort into working on your project as they did coming up with excuses they can’t be there, we could all be done by now. For these types of people, my advise it to give them lots of homework. And by homework, I mean give them tasks they can complete on their own. They are capable of doing the work, and if you give them a deadline, they should meet it, even if they can’t show up to discuss their work. If this tip doesn’t help, check out these other tips.

2. The Big Talker

This person talks a big game, yet doesn’t do shit. Whether they are talking about how much of the project they’ve done, how valuable they are to the team, or just babbling on about nothing (nothing useful at least), they really don’t add any value. The worst possible way to deal with these people is to call them out, as they will not admit to their ways and will instead tell you for the next half hour how much work they have done. The best way to handle these people is to stay on task, and whenever they begin to babble, bring them back to topic. Also, if these “Big Talkers” refuse to let you get a word in, try these steps. 

3. The “Why are you here’s”

Why are these people in your group? Why are they even in your class/company? They offer no value, whatever work they actually do has to be redone, and they show no initiative whatsoever. So the question becomes; why are you here? In my current situation, it is understandable some people want to get their degree and move on. But what value is it really if you don’t learn anything, and don’t put any effort into the group project. And, from the rest of the group’s standpoint, what is the purpose of assigning this person tasks? You now you will have to redo it anyways, and I refuse to spend my time babysitting someone through a task I could complete in much less time. The best way to deal with one of these people? Hope they don’t end up in your group, and if they do, don’t expect much.

I’m sure this post reminded you of a group project you’ve had in the past, or currently have. And I hope this helps you deal with these people in the future. As always, follow me on twitter at @zacharypwalsh and subscribe to my blog (click the pull down menu on the upper right corner of the page, then click subscribe) to stay up to date with my latest posts on how the little things add up to make something great. And if you have anything to say, please comment below!


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