Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How to Deal with Lazy Group Members

If you ever happened to be a leader of a group in your class, you might probably agree on most cases I will present in this article. Since I've entered college, I was always promoted as a leader whenever our professors assign or group us. Maybe because of my notable acts or my active participation I displayed in the class. 
Being a group leader can be tiresome, stressful and sometimes considered it as an extra work load for others. But for some, they see it as an accomplishment or an achievement as they tend to display more of their productive side. Leaders may face many challenges and obstacles along their way and one of these speed humps are the fact that they’ll deal with lazy group members.

For those readers who considers themselves as those “speed humps” I’m talking about, don’t get mad at me for what I’ll present in this article because what I say is based on my own observations and survey. It can be the truth, tentative truth or either way. For those who experienced leadership with “lazy group members”, you’ll find this post helpful for you, so that in the future when there comes a time you’ll be going to deal with these kind of group members again, you know what to do. And for those readers who haven’t experience being a leader or wanting to become one, just keep on reading and might consider this one useful for future reference.

            As a leader, you must possess a lot of traits and skills in order to become effective. One of these skills is the ability to delegate tasks and how to use their authority ethically. I’ve been a leader in a group many times already and I somehow manage to enhance my authority skills to make my lazy group-mates productive. Actually, the term lazy here is not entirely meant for those who don’t do anything at all. There are factors in which they might as well considered lazy even though they’re not really “lazy”. Did that sink in your mind? Let me elaborate more. What I’m pointing out is that they’ve been considered as lazy for the factors they are displaying during group-works are unproductive or they might doing nothing but in fact they might eventually help if they are willing.

 Here are some factors:

Poor performance – student with poor performance usually produced work of low quality and quantity.

Poor response rate these are considered as students that don’t give much answer.

Anxiety/Perfectionists – They are the ones who are afraid to show what they’re really capable of because they think they will lose their cool if they commit a mistake so in turn they remain silent.

Wanderer – They’re the ones that day-dream even in class. Their mind is wandering somewhere, and when you ask them something they usually has the answer “huh?”, “what?” , “did you say something” or worse they won’t even notice you.

Low self-esteem - People having a low self-esteem make people others not care in which they don’t even bother to exert effort which makes them appear lazy. They have the feeling that they are not worth the effort thus making them stagnant.

Too much self-esteem- Pampered, spoiled people with an exaggerated sense of self may feel there is no need to apply themselves because they have already "achieved." They may also be accustomed to having others do for them, feeling they deserve this service.

Lateness/Absenteeism Being late or absent reduces the productivity of the group and may affect others because their workload is being doubled.

Bored-member Are the ones that become bored when in times of group works. When they’re bored they usually sleep in their desk and wait until the group is done.
Show off The ones who attract the group’s attention with his/her noticeable traits without doing help at all.

These are just some of the factors why they’ve been considered unproductive in the group. And one solution to combat these factors is to use your authority. Yes, it’s a solution if you know how to use it effectively and ethically.

Here’s how I work as a leader of the group:

Do a quick evaluation of your entire members
On the first meeting, I always take a look at each member, and evaluate each of them on my mind. It’s true that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but sometimes we are capable of reading a person’s abilities by their appearances. In this method, you’ll know who the productive and unproductive ones are.

Introduce your policy as a leader
As their leader, they have the rights to know your policy on how you are going to handle them or what your expectations with the group members are. I never forget to state my policy with my group members, because I know that if I state my expectations and policies to them they’ll know that I rely on them and I trust them. Trust is a very vital factor in a group and you may never know that trusting even your unproductive member can lead to unexpected outcome.

Delegate tasks
Assign task to your members intelligently. Giving the hardest tasks to a member whom you think is capable of accomplishing it better or if you think you can handle it yourself, go ahead and take that instead. Be sure to assign a task to all your group members including the unproductive ones and tell them you trust them and be sure to give their best. For stubborn group members, use your authority. Scare them a little bit by setting a deadline for each task or if they didn’t does it correctly tell them that it will reflect on their own grades. Some professors or teachers allow the group leader to grade their members. Take this advantage.

Stay close to your team
At some point, every time you see a group member of yours, say “Hi”. Having a small chat with them during vacant hours can make you stay close with them. This gives you a chance to enquire or encourage and gives them an opportunity to raise issues or make suggestions regarding your topics/ assign task to them.

Set objectives on each member
Nothing happens until we plan and good plans have goals and objectives. Objectives like being SMART - Specific Measurable Achievable Resourced Timed is terrific for group works.

Reward each member
Oftentimes, lazy group members are “lazy” because they won’t act unless there is a price waiting ahead. By simply telling them that you’ll give extra points if they finish their task early and perfectly, will ignite their productive energy that becomes stagnant inside of them. You can try rewarding them something like pizza or beverages if you’re too generous.

Authority to expel
If all else fail and that lazy bum is still doing nothing in your group, feel free to report him to your professor/teacher. If you’re professor didn’t give a damn about your complain. You can remove that member on your list and tell that person why you did that. If he/she begs for reconsideration, give him a second chance. If that person wasted that chance, don’t be afraid to say “farewell” or “better luck next time”. XD


Ernest Ng said...

interesting blog you have! like it!

Kelvin said...

I am a "Wanderer" XD

Gerek Basikal said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

LOL wow this is so true

Anonymous said...

Well put. This described a whole team, pointing out the positive and negative.

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