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5 People You’ll Meet When Completing a Group Assignment

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5 People You'll Meet Completing a Group Assignment

We all know that feeling of dread when your lecturer announces a group assignment. The problem is, you never know you you’re going to get. And if you end up getting terrible team mates it can greatly affect your grade for the whole semester. If you’ve ever been in this position, you’ll know some of these people on the list!


Here’s how to spot them and how to deal with them.


The Dictator

How to spot them: This is the person who usually takes the lead, has an assignment plan before the project even starts and is completely comfortable taking the reins and steering the group. As they’re usually a big personality, you’ll find that you will need to fight for your ideas to be heard.

How to deal with them: If they want to take the lead then let them! It’s less stress for you and it will waste time if you have to fight them on who’s going to be in charge. The way to deal with a classic dictator is to state your ideas politely but firmly.


The Ghost

How to spot them: Sometimes compared to a mythical creature, you never know if they’re real or not. This person will show up for the first lesson and you’ll never see them again until the assignments are due.

How to deal with them: It’s hard to get in contact with someone who doesn’t want to be contacted. When you spot this person in your group try to get their details off them nice and early so you’re not floundering later in the semester, wondering how to get in touch. Make sure the tutor is informed on the happenings and dynamics in your group, just in case.


The Plagiarist

How to spot them: We’ve all been there. You know the type, they sit back and let the majority of the group do all the work, don’t contribute to group discussions and usually can’t make it to group meetings because “they’re busy.” But they still stroll in the last minute when the assignment is due, put in bare minimum effort and still get an equal mark as part of the grade. What’s worse is when they get a better grade than you!

How to deal with them: Give them a tighter deadline than the other team members that way you get this person’s submission early and you don’t have to worry about chasing anyone down for overdue work.


The Silent Student

How to spot them: This person is reliable and always shows up to lessons and discussions, but never has anything to contribute or say. They won’t offer an opinion to make the project better or volunteer to take on a task.

How to deal with them: Do your best to promote group discussion. Do an exercise like going around the group and asking for an opinion.  Sometimes this person isn’t being ignorant, just shy. So, a little extra encouragement and a smile can go a long way!  This student can usually be drowned out by “The Dictator” of the group so they’ll appreciate you occasionally standing up for them and making sure they have a platform to speak.


The Nervous Ninny

How to spot them: usually to be found rocking back and forth in the corner with crazy eyes. Their urge to overthink everything can get in the way of group discussions as you can often get off track and end up talking about something completely different than you were supposed to discuss. They like to go over due dates, course outlines and delegating jobs to people.

How to deal with them: These kinds of people just want to do well and have the assignment go over smoothly, but sometimes it can be over the top. The best way is for all of you to come up with a group planning system which outlines due dates and job delegations. Something that can they can refer back to regularly whenever they get twitchy.


The bottom line:

Group assignments can be infuriating and downright stressful. But before you throw in the towel and give up, remember that learning how to deal with different kind of people is a great skill to have in the future. So even if you finish your assignment and think “thank god that’s over! “you may realise you gained more life skills from participating in a crappy group, than a group that would’ve gotten you a HD. Team projects mean learning to get along with people with different values and learning to compromise. If you’ve learned this skill, you’ll find it’s more important that a higher grade!  


Words by Sophie Nicolas – Sophie Studied a Bachelor of Arts at Edith Cowan University and also studied abroad in Japan

You can read more work from Sophie on her website or on Uni Junkee

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