The beginning of every semester comes with the familiar dread of all the group projects you are about to be assigned. While some groups execute like a dream team others struggle to stay afloat. Here are some archetypes I have interacted with during groups projects here at SJU.
The Unquestioned Leader
When you see this person is in your group you know you won’t have much of a say in how this project goes down, and you’re okay with that. The unquestioned leader is the most efficient and organized member of any group project. He/she puts together the meeting schedule and the project topic within days of groups being assigned. The best way to deal with this group member is just to ride the wave. With this boss you know your grade will be stellar so there’s no need to rock the boat. Do your part of the project at a high standard and the unquestioned leader will love you forever.
The Wannabe Boss
This person is constantly questioning the plan the group has already decided on. Unfortunately he/she doesn’t take direction well and thinks he/she should be the leader of the group but doesn’t follow through on any of his/her grand ideas. The wannabe boss will eventually fall into line as the semester progresses, only throwing out unusable ideas every once in a while.
This group member is the absolute best. They are always at meetings, on time, and prepared to contribute. They support each group member and pick up the slack wherever needed without seeking praise or accolades for all the extra time they spent prepping the PowerPoint or correcting someone else’s section. They willingly take on the more difficult parts of the project and produce great results. Thank this group member, they’ll quietly appreciate it.
The One Who Never Talks
This silent group member shows up to meetings and gets his/her share of the work done but you aren’t sure if you have ever heard them speak. You aren’t sure if they’re actually listening at meetings, but at least they show up. This group member may have a hard time when it comes to presentation time so be sure to be supportive and helpful when preparing.
The Person Who Never Shows Up
This is probably one of the worst types of group members to have. They say they’re free for meetings and then don’t show up. Worst of all they never have a valid reason for not being there. You send them info about whatever happened at the meeting and what they need to be working on but of course they never get their part of the work done, often putting the unquestioned leader in a rough spot of taking on additional work. You really have to stay on top of this group member to make it work.
The One Who Is Always Late
The group latecomer is better to have in your group than the person who never shows up. They at least have some idea is going on in the group and what work is expected of them. The group never waits on him/her to start the meeting because you know they won’t arrive for 10-15 minutes after the start time. Make sure that you’ll have enough time to cover everything necessary even if the latecomer isn’t there on time.