Group Mates From Hell: How To Handle Them Like A Bawse

When there is an assignment, there are certain group mates that you will meet (and want to avoid):

  • The Invisible Person – This person exists in class, but only by name. He hardly replies to your texts.
  • The Smartphone Addict – Their eyes are glued to their phones and they never participate.
  • The Last-Minute Friend – They will give you mini heart attacks with their very last-minute submission.
  • The Dilly-Dally – They delay every task in hand, even if it’s as simple as sending an email.
  • The Controlling Mother – This person never stops nagging from Day 1 and trusts no one.

To make things worse, some shamelessly ride on your coat tails and get the same credit when everyone else sacrifices their sleep to complete the assignment.

Girl touching her head looking frustrated. Image source: Pexels

If this reminds you of someone you know, I’m sorry that you have to go through this.

But if this does not sound familiar, chances are, you’re one of them. Just kidding.

There are also people who understand the assignment and play their parts in the group perfectly. Bless their souls. 😇

Whichever side you’re on, I’m sure you will benefit from reading this.

I had my fair share of difficult group mates and it was a tiring and traumatic experience.

Earning my degree with sweat and tears, I’ve gained the know-how when it comes to dealing with these type of group mates: You cannot let them win.

Easier said than done, right?

Hear me out: I can assure you that these tips will help you deal with even the most difficult person in a group assignment – with a little resilience, that is.

Without further ado, here are some tips to handle the group mates from hell.

Promote Group Discussions And Get Everyone To Participate

Everyone can take a turn to suggest ideas or an area that they are confident to work on.

If some of them remain uncooperative, you can direct an open-ended question to a member. This gives them no choice but to stop what they are doing, like finally putting down their phones and focus on the discussion.

Group mates discussing in a room. Image source: Pexels

Don’t dismiss them if their ideas are not as constructive as the rest. Instead, appreciate their willingness to participate. This is will help introverted group mates come out of their shell too!

For example, ask what their talents or strengths are that may contribute to the project. Some people just need a little push, so remain positive and don’t give up!

Be Strict With Group Deadlines 

A deadline exists for a reason.

Although everyone works at their own pace, some individuals have the habit of last-minute submissions. This will cause them to pull the entire group down. If this happens to your team, you can approach the particular member personally and ask that they cooperate.

If your group member persists to be uncooperative, it’s time to talk to your lecturer about the person’s problematic behavior. Remember not to let your emotions get the better of you. This means not badmouthing or accusing said group mate. You want to solve an issue, not cause the other person to fail the subject!

Assure Your Group Mates That You Are Trustworthy 

From emails to group chats, this person constantly bugs everyone to point out every single detail of the assignment. They may even have an entire project planned out on their own!

Two girls talking.

Image source: Pexels

It is good that this person is proactive..until they care too much and begin taking on too much work load because they have trust issues. This is what I call a control freak.

Let them know that you and the rest of the team are capable of doing your own work. You should also tell them how much you appreciate their effort and remind them that you will get through this assignment together, as a team.

Remove The Person From Your Group As A Last Resort 

I repeat, as a last resort.

Everyone is a student, and every student wishes to pass their subjects and graduate.

Removing an uncooperative member mid-semester may finally restore peace and balance to your group. However, keep in mind that this person may fail the subject if they had to start a supposed group assignment from scratch.

Sure, it is unfair for each member of the group to do the person’s extra work, but you should first justify their reasons before taking any action (e.g. family, financial, or personal issues).

So, proceed with this step only after you’ve discussed with your group mates. Who knows, maybe a word from your lecturer could knock them back to their senses. 😁

A healthy group climate is also crucial for everyone to be productive and effective. With that being said, here are some practices that can help you build a good rapport among group mates:

1) Responsibility And Accountability

All members can discuss and distribute tasks accordingly. This gives members a responsibility to complete their parts and thus, will be held accountable for them.

2) Constructive Feedback And Criticism

A harmonious group allows you to provide and receive feedback. Constructive feedback can help the team focus on the ideas instead of the individual, which helps build a mature discussion without involving personal feelings.

3) Clear Organization And Task Distribution

A clear plan helps to keep your group mates focused on their tasks. An organized team is also capable of managing time wisely and achieving goals.

4) Understanding Your Role In The Team

Group mates assigning roles in front of board. Image source: Pexels

Some members are natural-born leaders, while some are better at supporting others. Either way, each member plays a vital role in ensuring the success of a group assignment. Rotating your roles is a good way to realize which roles that everyone is best suited for.

5) Problem Solving As A Team

Combining the skills above, you and your group mates can now strategize and develop the best approach to complete the assignment. As everyone is already clear with their responsibilities and roles, they can contribute to the decision-making process as well as become effective and valuable members of the group.

If certain group mates can be so challenging to deal with, wait until you see the types of people you will meet at work. But that is a story for another day!

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Jocelyn Cheng

Jocelyn Cheng

Jocelyn Cheng (JC) is an INFP writer seeking to spread inspiration and spark connections through her words. Her dedication to writing has gifted her with an ability to write for multiple platforms (e.g., website, social media, newspaper, magazine, etc) in different fields, namely Education, Travel, and Lifestyle. JC personalizes her works by adding a touch of her own experience into the mix whenever she can to relate to her readers. A self-proclaimed poet and currently a freelance writer, she's working on an untitled poetry book at home while juggling between writing for Eduloco, dancing, and keeping her only plant alive.

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