For all you college students out there, it’s the middle of Winter Quarter. We just got over the holiday blues, but there is so much more things to deal with. You have to deal with the hardest part of your classes, meeting with professors (so that they can write you a great future recommendation, and worst of all: your group members. It’s bad enough that you had to make new friends with the person sitting next to you the first day (how else would you get notes when you are sick or slept in through 5 alarm clocks?)
THEN you feel obligated to be in a group with them for the class project.
At first you think, “Oh, that’s not too bad. At least I know their names… I think…” If you are like me (the blog writer), you are a very organized person who, unfortunately, always needs to herd your group members to get things done. But you are not the group leader. No… no… no. You are the operations leader. Like a background CEO. You do all the work but don’t want all the credit. With credit comes responsibility… and public speaking. You will do anything to get out of that. All you want is that nice ‘A’ on your grade report. It can’t be that hard, right? Oh yes it is. You learn that the guy sitting next to you since the first day of school proclaimed himself as the group leader. You think it won’t be that bad. He does the talking and you do the herding. BUT THEN you find out that you butt heads, A LOT. Everything that he/she says makes you want to scream at the top of your lungs. The professor says “Constructive criticism is great. Every group needs a devil’s advocate”. But at some point, it becomes counter-productive. Outside of the project, you get along. You are both like-minded and driven. But during the project, you are both completely at each others throats! It all ends terribly. I call this type of group member…
- The Butt-Header: At first you like this group member, but you are both too stubborn to be productive. You make each other crazy and shouldn’t be in the same room with each other. Outside of work and school though, you can be friends.
Have you ever had an experience like this? If not, you probably have suffered through these ones:
- The LOG or (The Lazy Over-Confident Gnat): A group member who pretends to be excited about a project and shows promise…at first. After the first due date, they have an excuse as to why he/she was not able to do their part. The rest of the team stresses out doing the LOG’s part last minute. Then you hear their excuse and think “Oh it’s fine. Things happen. Just get your part done next time”
But they don’t get it done next time. They have another excuse. One that seems legitimate but really, it’s getting old. They are a procrastinator, an unmotivated log. Can’t be moved and won’t move. Even worse, they convince you each time that they will get their part done. But no, their attention span capacity is like a gnat. *buzz buzz*
- The Stresser: This group member is just plain annoying. He/she doesn’t trust anyone to get their stuff done (probably because they have worked with too many LOGs). They send group emails at least 5 times a day, including at 3AM because they care about the project WAY too much! Every day after class, they demand a meeting that should only last 5 minutes; he/she stretches it out to one hour or more. The worst thing that could happen with this group member is that they stress out too much on everyone else’s portion of the project, and doesn’t spend enough time on theirs. In the end, he/she contributes a mediocre portion of the paper and messes up their part of the presentation. Good project or bad project, he or she needs to take a chill pill.
- The Clueless One: Of course not everyone in college is the brightest student. They may have a great work ethic and great personality; but they just don’t get it. They don’t understand the subject, your humor, or even how to write a simple email. It takes more time to keep this person up to date than it does to do the project. If you are lucky, they will generate a creative idea for your group to build on. Hopefully one of your team members is “The Patient One” who can designate time to work with him or her.
- The Best Friend: This goes with advice like “Never room with your best friend” or “Don’t have a best friend as a business partner”. The experience can be hot or cold, but most likely, it’s cold. This best friend can turn into the Butt-Header, the LOG, the Stresser, or the Clueless One. The worst part is that you can’t be honest and tell him/her that they need to get it together. If you bring it up, it stresses your friendship. But your whole group wants you to talk to him/her to soften the blow. This almost never ends well. To be safe, don’t do it.
How do you deal with group members like these? So far, ArcZap has strived to make communication with your group members seamless. All documents and important posters/pictures are pinned to your customizable private cork board for as long as you choose. That important assignment will not be lost in a sea of emails or in weeks and weeks of newsfeeds. Hate reply all? Now with a free email alias for all our private groups, messaging your group in the announcement section of an Arc or in your email is even easier (The Clueless One will even know how to do it). Do you have suggestions of ways that ArcZap can further help with these type of bad group experiences? Comment with your thoughts below!