Whether you’re a student or a career woman, you’re sure to encounter group work. Some projects can be fun, such as event planning. Others are more stressful and you may depend on them for a good grade or a raise. Nevertheless, working cooperatively with your group members is so important.

Exchange contact information

Making sure you have phone numbers and email addresses for your group members is an essential part of working together. You make use email addresses to collaborate on documents, phone numbers to create a group message to discuss meeting time, et cetera. 

Establish a leader

It’s much easier to get the job done if positions are decided during the first meeting. If you don’t already have a leader, assign one. In one of my classes, the same group chooses a new leader for each project to ensure it gets finished on time without giving a semester-worth of responsibility to one person. Decide what works best for your project and start assigning.

Delegate tasks

Right after the leader is established, it should be fairly easy to delegate tasks to different group members. If you are in an office setting, this may have to be done by company roles. If you don’t already have set roles, discuss what you are good at and who will be the best fit for each task. Example: the grammar nazi should be the one editing the papers.  

Create a group contract

Deciding rules in the beginning will save arguments from occuring by the end. Your contract items can vary from “no phones at meetings” to “whoever arrives last has to buy snacks.” Discuss what you would like to include with your group, print it, and sign it. The group leader should keep a copy incase conflict arises. 

Create a schedule

Whether your group is meeting during school/office time or during your free time, creating a schedule can keep you on track to timely completion. If you are meeting on your own time, you will want to schedule meetings around everyone’s personal schedules. Take time to discuss scheduling conflicts and decide what meeting time works best. This can be hard, but using apps like Google Calendar make it easy to keep up with meetings and deadlines. 

Take initiative

After getting all of the nitty gritty stuff out of the way, it’s time to finally start your project. Take initiative and begin your work early. Finishing early will give the entire group time to review the project before the deadlines. Taking initiative starts at the beginning of the project and continues throughout its entirety. 

Be open to other ideas

Starting a new project can be exciting and ideas will start flooding your brain. It’s so much easier to be passionate about a project you’re excited about, but do not rely on your idea being chosen. Be willing to listen to other group members and their opinions, but do not let this stop you from pitching your idea to the group. 

Don’t be afraid to speak up

Speak up and voice your thoughts, opinions, and concerns throughout the project. You may disagree with some aspects of your group work. Don’t be afraid to speak up, ask questions, and give feedback. Remember, your name will go on the project alongside everyone else’s. 

Be open to criticism

It’s highly unlikely that your group will like every idea you pitch and all of your work. Remember, you are all in this together. Be open to criticism. You can either agree or disagree with them, but make sure you listen to their reasoning before making your decision.

Put forth maximum effort

This project affects you and your group members. You wouldn’t want your name on something that someone gave half-effort on. No matter how busy you may be, make sure you put maximum effort into your project so everyone can succeed. 

Edit, edit, and edit some more

Don’t be afraid to edit your work and even nix parts that don’t seem to fit. It’s better to set time aside for group members to edit each other’s parts because everyone will be able to catch different errors. Assign one person to make the final edits and you should be golden.

Submit something you’re proud of

Make sure your hard work pays off. Edit until your project is something you’re proud to put your name on. If you have to present the project, dress your best, speak up, and present in a way that makes you proud. You’re finally done with this one! Now onto the next group.

Whitney E

Whitney is a senior majoring in communication at Mississippi State University. When she's not preparing for law school, you can find her online shopping or planning a trip to Disney World. She loves Ronald Reagan, traveling, and all things preppy.