Gruelling Group Work

We all have experienced the fun which comes from group projects. With every project you do as a group, you will take on a role which often varies depending on timing, nature of the project, class, etc.

1. The Figure Head: This person is often the most dominant personality in the group. They are known for taking over the conversation and sticking to their guns. Often, this person does most of the talking and idea-making. This person is an asset in that they often have a good understanding of what they are talking about, making them useful in oral presentations. More than anything, though, they take the lead on answering questions that most of us don’t want to answer.

2. The Micro-Manager: Known for being incredibly annoying and always on your case, this person has a love/hate relationship with the rest of the group. They will push you to make sure your part is done which can be irritating, but at the end of the day, they are the person who is going to make sure that all of the work is done right and submitted on time.

3. The Submissive One: This group member often gets by under the radar by simply doing what they’re told. You won’t hear much from them in the working process, but you can always count on them to get the job done to satisfaction.

4. The Confused One: This person is easily the most underrated group member. This person will ask tons of questions which may get on your nerves, but is actually really helpful. By talking through these questions, you gain a better understanding of the work you are doing and the group can make sure they are on the same page.

5. Devil’s Advocate: This is the arguer of the group. Most of the things they say will start with the words “Just to play Devil’s advocate”, which will make you cringe, but is ultimately a good thing. This person provides insight that you may not have considered and forces you to work through the kinks in your project.

6. The Busy One: This is the one you can never get a hold of, and often has other things to do whenever you want to meet. I’d love to say that they contribute meaningfully to the group, but mostly they just put their name on the final project.

7. The Tech-ey One: Often, this group member is the work mule of the group. They have a better understanding of the medium you are using for your project and they know it. They are content taking the reigns on the technology aspect and make sure everything looks as good as possible.

8. The Wild Card: Sadly, every group has one. This is just a person that despite lots of discussion just kinda does their own thing. This can fare either really well or really poorly. If you’re lucky, it’ll diversify your project just enough to make it effective. However, much of the time it just compromises the cohesiveness of the project.

4 thoughts on “Gruelling Group Work

  1. While I tend to have a dominant personality when working in groups, I agree that it depends big time on the nature of the project. I would certainly not want to be the leader on a engineering project, God save my poor teammates; but I do think that we can all relate to your post in one way or the other. I, for instance, am one who will, contribute to the project, but will probably wait until the last minute to give everything, and will spend the last minutes before the deadline correcting the overall finished product. Something I’m not very proud of, but everyone has something good and bad to offer, it’s just a matter of knowing how to use our talents and apttitudes.

  2. Personally, I take the role of the arguer. I constantly try to make people think from a different perspective. Like you stated in your blog, I think this person is crucial for the group to better understand and master their topic. All parts work together like a clock. They all contribute to the importance of gaining a final outcome.

  3. I can relate to this immensely. I’m pretty sure I’ve been each and everyone of these group member types. There’s nothing more frustrating than being a “figurehead” and having to do everyone’s work, yet I’ve never felt as guilty as I do when I’m busy or haven’t put in my fair share of the work.

  4. This made me laugh but it also brought back horrible flashbacks to last semester when I had to do a group project. I had one girl leave the group before the project was due, I had one person who was silent and did not offer any help. Basically a project that was supposed to be worked on by 4 people was worked on by 2. Thankfully I had one useful group member and we made sure to complete the project on time, and well. I think if I had to name myself as one of the characters listed above I would probably call myself a micro-manager. I will be worried until I see that the project has been submitted and I will most likely assign people to do certain things. Group projects are no fun and I personally do not know why they still exist in college. I guess it is preparation for the real world when we will have to collaborate with difficult people. Who knows, maybe all these group projects will pay off in the long run.

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