HOW TO DEAL WITH DIFFERENCES
Parents should share the following article with their children who are tackling group projects. Group dynamics – the way people with different personalities and behavioural traits interact with each other – if not handled properly, could totally destroy morale and bring down the quality of the project work. This, in turn, will impact the final GPA.
Make sure there is good communication. Set up a WhatsApp group for starters, this will allow everyone to see and know what’s happening, what’s planned ahead. Be sure to be fair to all, no favouritism allowed. Set clear deadlines and as far as possible, the group mates should adhere to these deadlines. Pick a patient, charismatic group leader to actively communicate with and rally the troops.
Don’t just do everything together. Assign individual roles and see how each member performs. If, along the way, roles need to be redefined or reallocated to meet group objectives, don’t be afraid to do so. Always ask: who is the best person for this role?
Plan for the schedule ahead. Set milestones and meet individual targets. Make sure everyone does his job and sends in the project to the group leader at least one day before the deadline. This gives the leader or group time to put everything together and turn it in on time.
It is better to meet up and discuss together, face to face, rather than leaving everything on WhatsApp or video calls. Meet at a mutually convenient location for everyone, accessible by public transport and not just someone’s favourite haunt or somewhere with nice pancakes.
While it is necessary to have different points of view in a group work, try to manage any conflicts or arguments. No one should take objections personally. It is never about any individual. Get ego out of the way. This can be done by firstly getting feedback from all members. Never put down anyone, no matter how silly the idea may be at that moment; what does not work for one instance may work like magic at another time. Have a vote if necessary. Be objective.