I am an introvert at heart. I’ve worked hard to be able to speak to people confidently and effectively, and I frequently have to force myself to leave the house.
I enjoy it once I am out, but I always feel like I have something to do at home.
Other things that come with being an introvert include liking to work alone, appreciating ideas rather than action, and preferring writing as their most used form of communication.
Obviously, not everyone is like this. There are extroverts and ambiverts, who are more confident and like to work with concrete problems.
So, they’re almost Yin and Yang. But their interaction in work and life is inevitable. So what does that mean?
That means that working in groups can be an issue for a lot of people.
Differences in methods and preferences can make it feel like you’re grinding nails on a chalkboard.
But it doesn’t have to be like that.
At my school, there’s seldom a time where I am not working in a group. Although I was hesitant at first, it’s taught me a lot.
I learned that there is always something someone can be doing. I learned that everyone has their strengths and weaknesses.
And, through trial and error, I learned the things that work best when you want to ensure that a group project turns out the best it can.
I also learned with the right people, working in groups can be great. There’s no greater feeling in the world than when a team puts in hard work and a project comes together with minimal bumps.
Unfortunately, your team isn’t always going to be full of Leslie Knope-s and Jessica Day-s. I know that that rarely happens. Here are some tips to keep the project flowing and working well, even in a less than great group.
Don’t (necessarily) work with friends
This is one of the hardest things to do, but you will appreciate it in the long run. If you know that your friend is unmotivated, doesn’t work hard, or just isn’t the right person for the project you’re trying to do, don’t work with them. They might be hurt at first, but maybe it will motivate them to work harder so they can work with you next time.
Use Google Apps
Apps like Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets, and Drive have been life savers for all of my recent group projects. I can’t explain how frustrating it is to have to try to merge two (or more) documents in Word. Ugh. Headache. Being able to work on a report, presentation, or data sheet with all your group members is so helpful and saves so much time. No merging and people can see what everyone is doing as it happens.
Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. Use this to your advantage during group projects. Break the project down into small tasks, and assign the person that’s best at each to each task. This helps to keep one person from getting a ton of work while another gets none. Use a shared calendar (like Google’s) to help schedule and remind people of what they need to get done.
Share contact information
All of the above tips work best if you can contact the people in your group. The two most important things to share are your phone number and email. Use your email to share documents in ever Google app and numbers to ask quick questions.
Consider everyone’s viewpoint
Trying to incorporate everyone’s idea into a project can be hard. And, let’s be honest, sometimes a person’s idea just stinks. But they’ll still think it’s great. If you want to keep friend and work relationships going, you can’t just cut them off and tell them no, absolutely.
If it really won’t work, try demonstrating that to the person or trying their idea momentarily just to prove it can’t happen. If they are really pushing their idea, see if there is any way you can fit it in, or use it to inspire a new idea that can fit in. This can be tricky, but it’s really important to not let any petty personal issues get in the way.
It’s important to stay as positive as you can with people. I once had an assignment where you could gain or lose points depending on a teammate evaluation. You wouldn’t want to lose points on a project because you insulted someone. Plus, it’s always best to avoid insulting anyone no matter what.
At any point in time, I am almost always involved in a group project. I love to foster creativity, productivity, and efficiency. These are my rules that I swear by every group project, and they work wonderfully.
Hope these help smooth out some of the bumps ahead!