HOW TO DEAL WITH DIFFERENCES (Part 2)
It is vital for parents to share the following information with their children who are involved in group projects. In polytechnics, projects are common. The last thing anyone wants is for friendship to turn sour because of personality clash or work disagreements. While the tips are no guarantee for anything, they should minimise potential conflicts.
Be specific in task assignments; we don’t want anyone to end up saying: “I didn’t sign up for this!” The popularly elected group leader should be the one delegating the tasks. He should always be respectful and fair.
Avoid group think
What is group think? It is when the whole group wants the same outcome, is influenced by one another, and readily agrees with each other. Team mates should be paired up according to their differences and diverse talents, not similar strengths. The role of the leader is to facilitate conversations and listen to everyone’s idea. Suspend premature judgement. It is difficult to please everyone in a conflict of interest; compromise, re-align, then go for a vote. Majority wins. No hard feelings.
If one or two team mates strongly disagree on something regarding the project and there’s an impasse, get outside help, or second opinion. Outline the group’s suggestions and ideas to the teacher, lecturer or professor. See what they have to say. Then make tweaks or change the whole idea or presentation if need be. Getting external help will mitigate conflicts and improve outcomes.
Never take things personally
A rejection of one’s ideas is not rejection of a student’s worth. No one should feel belittled or slighted if his ideas are not taken up, or critiqued. Through group projects, students will learn to be more vocal, think deeper by learning from one another, work with others who may be difficult to get along with, and mature as a young adult.