Group Work

This week’s blog is on group work. One of the hardest things to do in either a work or educational environment, is to work collaboratively in a group. It is even more difficult when the group members are in different locations and all collaboration must be done electronically. The same types of problems almost always occur when I have worked in this type of environment. Some of the common ones include:

  1. The Hostile Takeover – A collaborator taking control of the process and forcing their agenda down the teammate’s throat.
  2. The Slacker – A collaborator hiding in the group doing as little as possible.
  3. Unclear on the Concept – A hard worker who goes off on their own, does lots of work, but it does not match the vision of the rest of the group.
  4. The Disagree-er – A collaborator who disagrees with everyone’s ideas but does not come up with any of their own.

I have to admit that I sometimes fall unknowingly into the Hostile Takeover category. It’s not that I intentionally mean to force my ideas on other people it’s just that I often think I know best. However, one piece of advice that one of my college instructors recently gave me was to “check your ego at the door” when doing group work. This advice resonated with me because of the guilt I have felt in the past when I failed to listen to other people’s ideas. We all bring different knowledge, skills, and abilities to the table. We only get the most out of a group when we listen to all voices and build consensus.

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