We’ve all done it at some point in our lives, some of us do it on a daily basis while others avoid it at all costs, but unless you’re an introvert you have to do it sooner or later. You will eventually have to work in a group and there are certain things you need to know in order to do it effectively.
Group work is a form of art. Sometimes you get it right on the first try while others it takes time, work and patience.
Groups are meant to provide optimal results by brainstorming, sharing ideas and dividing large loads of work among several group members. If one of these tasks is ignored, however, group work will not be as beneficial as it could be.
Many times people are thrown into groups randomly without any rhyme or reason and members are left to fend for themselves.
The University of Pittsburg lists the following tips to facilitate working in groups.
Make clarifying statements
Deliberate and discuss
Keep the discussion on task
Elicit viewpoints from others
But before getting to the creative or productive process, you have to consider the group dynamic. Groups are made up of different personalities, which can affect the way that they communicate.
“Some group members are quiet and reserved while others are loud and outgoing. Some discuss an issue constructively while others attack the person with whom they are speaking instead of focusing on the topic being discussed. Some members talk to demonstrate control while other members think before they speak,” according to The Fundamentals of Small Group Communication.
While blame could be passed to those who don’t speak up or to those who speak up too much, it’s important to note that every group member is responsible.
Some people approach groups as opportunities to kick their feet up and enjoy the ride while other members pick up the slack and assume responsibility for the entire group. Keep in mind that people will only take advantage to the extent that they are allowed. If they are held accountable, they are more likely to respond positively than if they are given a free ride.
So when working in a group, do your part.