Not Enough Group Participation?

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Group projects are not easy to manage.  It becomes especially difficult to handle as a leader when the level of participation varies amongst individual team members.  Project leaders must assume all risks to bare the burden of finishing in a timely fashion and getting everything right. We must lead as an example and find creative ways to get the work done from our group members.  During this past month, I’ve figured out what it takes to make it all possible from experience as captain of my debate team.

Always Assign Deadlines

Setting deadlines with dates and times let participants know how urgent assignments are. Having reasonable times for each different assigned component makes accomplishments feel possible and not too overwhelming.  This way, you can measure the progress of the project and figure out specific problems.

Be Available

As a team leader, you must be able to keep everyone together and on track. Take charge and let them know you’re there for them until the project is done. The easiest way to do this is by being conveniently available. Whether it’s through phone call, text messages, email, social media websites, video chat and even face-to-face, you have to be there when questions or problems arise. While communicating, an opportunity arises to check if everyone is on schedule with their duties.

Encourage Your Team

To make sure the work is done well, you must also be encouraging. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, and this can bring up struggles which lead to a standstill.  The head of the group has to always keep motivating and give support any way he/she can to ensure the success of the team.

Make Compromises

Is someone slacking off or not even bothering to show up?  If you can, sit down with the individual and talk things out. Try to see what’s causing the problem and if you can help solve it. Work out some kind of deal which can bring them back in on the project.

Take a walk in their shoes and share your point of view. Discuss what their best interest might be and what this project can mean. If it’s the first time you two are working together on something, let them know you wouldn’t want it to be your last.

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Warren Fung is a student at College of Alameda and Laney College in Oakland, California.  He currently works for the American Red Cross.

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