How to be the Ultimate Group Project Leader

One of the toughest tasks in student life is working with other people. While you’re classmates may make for great friends, that doesn’t mean they always end up as dependable partners. Unfortunately, you can’t rely on a someone stepping up to the plate every time you have a project, so follow these tips and you can make even the most unwilling rascals into productive collaborators!

Persist Until They Can’t Resist

In this modern age of technology, you have all the tools necessary to keep in contact with your group members right at your fingertips. The first step is to collect the names, numbers, and email addresses of everyone in the group. This is only half the battle. You need to follow up with texts, emails, and Facebook events that will let everyone know that you’re serious. The best way to improve proper group behavior is to model it yourself after all.

Over-schedule

Plan more meetings than you might need. Why would you want schedule more meetings than necessary when it’s already hard enough to get people together? Well, for precisely the same reason you might raise objection, that’s why. If you plan extra meetings you will be prepared for when everything goes wrong. Such as, when one member misses a meeting or when no one turns up to your Saturday morning workathon. You’ll have ample time to adjust and accommodate for any setbacks, and if you do manage to meet regularly, you can simply cancel your future plans and enjoy the new and well-earned free time!

If You Feed Them, They Will Come

The number one way into any college student’s heart is through his or her stomach. Once you’ve hooked a your group into coming, the next most important step is making sure they return. While no one is expecting a five-course meal, a small gesture of goodwill like coffee and donuts, or bagels, will show your group members you really appreciate their involvement. Even if they just see your group meetings as a chance to score some free food, at least this makes it more difficult for them to ignore the project. If you can manage to keep your group members to show up, even if solely for the food, it will be impossible for them not to participate.

Don’t Take it Personally

Yes, their will be disagreements and disappointments, even with the best of groups. But don’t ever forget that this is a natural part of a collaborative project, and most importantly that these issues are never mean to be a personal attack on you. If someone doesn’t show up for a meeting, they may have a perfectly good reason or they may not, but ti doesn’t reflect on you in any way. Take time between meetings to wait on settling disagreements and you’ll have a clearer perspective when it comes to making decisions. If someone wants something done a certain way, this is a good thing because it means they care! It’s ok to butt heads, just don’t take it to heart and you can avoid creating worse conflicts and resolve the most difficult of situations.

Your group members involvement ultimately hinges on their own motivation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t encourage them. Take charge and become the leader they never expected, and your group members may just become the more involved than you ever expected!

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Ryan Schapals

Ryan Schapals

Ryan Schapals is a senior at DePaul University studying Creative Writing and Psychology. Outside of class, Ryan can be found working in the Pysch Lab or at a local health clinic. When he's not distracted by cat videos, he tries to balance his time between playing guitar, writing prose, and running around the soccer field.

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