Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Dealing with Difficult Group Members

Did you ever have group projects in school and hate it? From what I can tell, most people possess a severe dislike for working in groups. After constant questioning, most professors explain that group work is representative of real life, that after college most of us will have to work in an environment with other people; some with whom we will not agree.

But let's face it. At the end of the day, group work is a major drag, and dealing with members can be tricky. No matter what, you still have to work with them, so airing grievances seems wrong. After all, you don't want the group to get even harder.

My friend recently told me about an issue with her group for a class. One of the members had said something to her that was really offensive. Feeling defeated, she didn't want to pick a fight. So she did something that surprised me. . .

She went to her professor! It's something I never would have thought to do. I go to office hours, and even talk with them casually outside of class, but I've always felt it would be immature to talk to them about issues like this. She told me it was the best thing she ever did.

Although she was really embarrassed by it, she said she was so overwhelmed by the comments that she cried in her professor's office, who let her finish crying, and then proceeded to give her advice. It was relaxed and comforting. She even told my friend that even though she'd be traveling the next few days, to email her and let her know how everything with the group member went.

Pretty interesting, right? Would you go to your professor with group project problems? Your boss? Would you cry, and if so, how would you handle it?

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