Tips to Deal With Group Assignment that Awkwardness

Group of Young Students Studying together at Library, High View

We know you’ve been there before.

Student: “And Ms, are we choosing our own groups?”

Teacher: “No, I have already chosen them.” (*Evil laugh*)

Yeah, okay, it’s a slight exaggeration, but that’s pretty much what we’re all thinking when it’s time for group assignments, right?

Your heart begins to race as you look around; your brain spins, working out the likelihood of getting at least one other person from your friend group. Alas, it is not to be.

You’re handed over to a group you’d very much prefer not to be a part of. You observe the people sitting across from the table. Among them you see that one guy who speaks so quietly he has to repeat what he’s saying several times for it to be heard, those two girls who can’t ever be separated and spend most of their time discussing their plans for the weekend, and, of course, that one slacker who contributes nothing to the group. Ever.

Now, you wouldn’t say there is anything wrong with these people. It’s just an uncomfortable experience working with people you hardly interact with, in or out of school.

So, how are we meant to overcome this terrifying situation? How is it exactly that we should deal with ‘group assignment awkwardness’?

Here’s my answer: Be the loudest voice.

Loud

Now by this, I don’t mean you should be yelling into everyone’s ears, “Did you understand that son?!” Simply be the person who gets things going.

Often the biggest problem in group assignments is the delegation of roles. If you are the one who asks questions about what everyone might want to do, you’ll be seen as the most productive member and also have a bit more control over the situation.

It goes without saying that being bossy is not the same thing. You want to be firm but not fierce; self-assured but not selfish.

If becoming the group leader is something you choose to uphold, you must remember to consider everyone’s ideas. Ask for opinions and seek out suggestions. However, if the thoughts and interactions come to a standstill, be the propeller of the conversation.

Veep

I was often afraid of doing this out of fear that people would think I’m too self-confident or that I’m too confrontational. The thing is, someone’s gotta be that person if no one else will contribute.

In the end, it comes down to how much you care about this assignment. Yes, it stinks when you’re a part of a group, whether they’re helpful or not, but at least you can say that you tried. What you put in is what you get out.

But what if someone else decides to be the loudest voice? Here are your options.
A) Be another loud voice. You can share the role, contributing the same. Just remember that it’s not a competition and being louder or pushier isn’t the way to find success in team situations. Don’t cause conflict.

B) Be the keenest listener. Reply to the questions asked, ask questions that you want answered and think about things on a deeper level. Remember that speakers need listeners in order to get messages across and to achieve goals.

This method may not be for some of you. Hey, it might not be for any of you. Yet, I think it’s one worth trying and perhaps you might want to give it a chance.

All the best to those of you on your own awkward group work adventures. I know you’ll need it