How to deal with a slacking group project member

Group projects can be a breeze when every does a fair amount of work. But sometimes there’s a group member who needs that extra push to do their job, or doesn't’t do it at all—yikes! That can be super stressful, not to mention unfair. So, try the following tips to encourage a slacking group member to step up.

Use everyone’s strengths and interests
Is one chica in your group really into art? Have her design the presentation! Is another gal super good at mat? She can rock the economics portion! Instead of dividing up the work without giving it much thought, your partners can discuss what they *want* to do and split the work based off of their interests. Try to have your group members working on parts that they would enjoy, so they’re less likely to slack off.

Make sure they know their job
It’s possible that the person you have in mind hasn’t done their part because they’re a little confused about what’s going on. Near the beginning of the project, have the group meet up and divide the tasks so everyone knows *exactly* what their responsibilities are, as well as everyone else’s. You can write them down in case anyone forgets!

Set earlier deadlines for your group
We’ve all worked with—or been—the group member who waits until the last minute to hurriedly put together their part. It can be nail-biting to see if they finish in time, and their rushed research might lower the quality of the overall project! You can make sure this doesn’t happen by setting an earlier unofficial deadline for everything to be done by. If the group poster’s due on Monday, maybe have your group agree to finish everything by Friday so you all can review each other’s work and correct any mistakes.

Check on everyone’s progress
Sometimes it can be easier and more efficient to split up the tasks and then have everyone go off and do their own thing independently, but try to still meet up as a group once or a few times. When you meet, you can brief each other about what’s been done and what’s left to do. Then you’ll be sure that everyone is doing their work, and members won’t be able to sneakily slack off.

Talk to people who are slacking
If someone in your group is still putting off their work, try talking to them individually and finding out why. Are they too busy? Is their part too difficult for them? You can try rearranging the tasks so they have a part that they’re comfortable doing. If there’s no reason that they’re not doing their role, you might have to encourage them by reminding them to get started. 

Talk to the teacher
If a group member’s slacking could hurt your grade and you’ve done everything you can to help them, it’s okay to let your teacher know about your concerns. He or she may be able to offer advice about what to do or possibly grade the project so you don’t get points off for someone else’s lack of work. 

What do you do when someone in your group doesn’t do their work? Share in the comments down below!

by Grace Zhou | 12/7/2018
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