How To Work (Effectively) In Groups by qyz18834


									                                     How To Work (Effectively) In Groups

Sometimes in groups there is an inequality in the amount of work people are doing.
This happens all the time in school and in the workplace. Here are some strategies
to help you.

Meeting #1
1. As soon as possible (such as the day you receive a group assignment) establish who is in your group. Write
    down names, and exchange email addresses and phone numbers. Find out what day is good to meet and set
    either a first meeting or map out your meeting dates from now until the assignment is due.
2. Choose a topic and decide what parts need to be included on that topic. Roughly sketch out the assignment. (It’s
    easier to change something than to invent it.)
3. Have each group member go away with a task to complete—exploring the topic, or how the topic can be
    presented, or further exploration of one important aspect of it.
4. Establish rules such as that each person must return to the next meeting with a printed (hard) copy of their
    findings and ideas. Set parameters (such as, is emailing this document okay? Who will be the ‘controller’?).
5. Arrange the next meeting date. Always plan ahead and well in advance of deadlines. Remind everyone to bring
    their work. Set parameters for this.
Meeting #2
6. With your rough sketch and individual homework, discuss the assignment. Establish who will do what. Divide
    up the work evenly and fairly. Also consider people’s natural abilities. If there is an artist in the group, or
    someone really proficient at creating documents or PowerPoint presentations, put them to good use. Everyone
    should do research, however, because everyone needs to know the topic.
7. Discuss the quality and type of the product that is expected. Arrive at consensus regarding quality.
8. Assign tasks to each member. Ensure it is fair and equitable. Remember that everyone is busy, not just certain
    people. Group assignments are a part of school. Busyness is a part of life.
9. Set or negotiate deadlines for the next set of required member contributions. Set parameters (such as, if you do
    not contribute by this date, you are out of the group. Period.) Negotiate a submission/contribution date.
    Negotiate consequences.
10. Start early in the process. Don’t wait until the day before it is due to get members’ contributions.
Meeting #3
11. Evaluate the quality of the contributions. Discuss with group members what they think about the work so far.
    What needs to be improved? How can it be improved?
12. Encourage each member to become an expert on their part of the topic. Help each other flesh it out by asking
    questions and testing the depth of their knowledge and coverage of the topic. What is being missed or
13. Be open to the feedback of others in the group. Give feedback professionally and objectively, describing the
    product not the person.
14. Establish what needs to be done next. Assign the work. Set specific due dates for these items. Negotiate
    parameters and consequences.
15. Decide who will get the needed supplies and by when. Always have members notify the rest of the group when
    a task has been completed (such as securing equipment such as a data projector and laptop). “Oops, I forgot” is
    not what you want to hear when you are 2 minutes from giving a presentation.
16. Decide how many more meetings are needed. What will occur during future meetings? When can we have our
    final meeting, just prior to the assignment being due, to make sure all components are in order?

In groups and executive boards, most of the ‘group’ work is done outside of group time. The group is a place to
come back to and discuss the work that has been done and to decide what needs to be done next and how. This is
how effective groups run. This is how executive boards run in the work world. And in the real world, if members
don’t produce, they are asked to leave.
 Em M. Pijl Zieber RN, BSN              University of Lethbridge, 2007        How To Work (Effectively) In Groups
Sometimes groups ‘fail’ catastrophically. If you have concerns about the performance of one or more group
 1. Have a contingency plan for the part you think may go missing. Plan ahead, although you do not need to tell
    anyone you are doing this. The suspect member(s) need not know; it’s just your little Plan B that you can pull
    out if you need it.
 2. Using the submission deadlines that were agreed upon by the group, you can ask the non-participating
    member to not be a part of the group. Problem solved. Rework the distribution of work accordingly to make
    sure the topic is fully covered. Please notify the course instructor if this happens.
 3. Document, document, document. Document your attempts to contact the members/s, document meetings held
    and who was present and who was absent (also note if the absence was expected or not). Document any
    behavior you think necessary to note (such as being adversarial or refusing to compromise, refusing to meet).
 4. Keep the course instructor informed on an ongoing basis. Don’t wait until the assignment is due to tell the

Communication is paramount in working in groups. Use this opportunity to work on
communication and conflict resolution skills. It won’t kill you—it will make you a stronger
person and a stronger leader.

                                            Evaluation of Group Participation
                          WORTH 20                                                            WORTH 0
 Regular attendance at group meetings
 Attended all meetings, stayed to agreed end, worked within        Missed several/most meetings, always or often late, left
 timetable, active and attentive, prepared to be flexible about    early, digressed, giggled, day-dreamed or gossiped most of
 meeting times.                                                    the time.
 Contribution of ideas for the task
 Thought about the topic in advance of the meeting, provided Didn't come prepared. Didn't contribute any ideas. Tended
 workable ideas which were taken up by the group, built on   to reject others' ideas, rather than build on them.
 others' suggestions, and were prepared to test out your
 ideas on the group rather than keep quiet.
 Researching, analysing and preparing material for the
 You did what you said you would do, you brought materials,        Did no research. Didn't do what you promised to do. Didn't
 did an equal share of the research and helped to analyse          manage your workload. Didn't get involved with the task and
 and evaluate the material.                                        allowed others to provide all the material.
 Contribution to cooperative group processes
 Let personal differences outside the group, willing to review     Did not take initiative, waited to be told what to do. Always
 group progress and tackle conflict in the group, took on          took the same role (leader, joker, etc.) regardless of
 different roles as needed, kept group on track, willing and       circumstances, created conflict, and were not prepared to
 flexible but focused on the task.                                 review group progress.
 Supporting and encouraging group members
 Keen to listen to others, encouraged participation, enabled a     Sought only to complete the task, spoke over others and
 collaborative learning environment, sensitive to issues           ignored their opinions, kept ideas and resources to yourself.
 affecting group members, supported group members with             Insensitive to individual's needs and did not contribute to the
 special needs.                                                    learning process.
 Practical contribution to end product
 Willing to try doing new things. Not hogging the tasks, make      Not willing to take on any task, did not take any
 a high level of contribution, took own initiative, was reliable   responsibilities, were unreliable so others felt the need to
 and produced high standard work/presentation.                     keep checking up, and you made a limited, poor quality
                                                                                     (Heathfield in ed. Brown and Glasner 1999: 138-139)

 Em M. Pijl Zieber RN, BSN                   University of Lethbridge, 2007              How To Work (Effectively) In Groups

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