In college, you will encounter at least one, if not many, group projects. Usually, there are two types of people in group projects. The first type is the leader-the person who either likes to take charge, or who feels they must take charge in order to create a successful project/presentation. This person usually does the majority of the work and may assign tasks to classmates in their group project. Usually there is only one person who is the leader, but there can be more then one, especially depending on how large the group is. The second type of person is the ‘team’ member. This person usually just listens to the leader and does the part of the project that he/she may be assigned from the leader. Sometimes however, this person may get away with doing little to no work in the project, instead free-riding off the hard work from the other members. Usually this type of person applies to the majority of people in a group project.
Most people are already aware of these two types of people in group projects, but actually identifying which type of person you are is important. Being the leader says a lot about your character in a positive way. It usually displays that you are self-motivated and are concerned about creating a well-done project. I use the word usually only because some people may only be motivated by a drive to have control of every and any situation, but these people can at the same times possess the traits I mentioned earlier. Being a leader is also a great experience. It gives you great social skills and prepares you for your future career when you will most likely have to interact and make decisions with others in a work atmosphere. These social skills are so utterly important. For example, it says a lot about a person when they have patience and respect to listen and consider what others have to say, while at the same time establishing their position on a topic in a respectable manner (even in times when their position is contrasting to others’). As a leader, I believe it is necessary to try and not do all the work, but rather hold people accountable for their part. This is important for different reasons, such as showing you care about others’ having a share in the work or having to do to the often uncomfortable task of making sure everyone holds responsibility for the project when they might not want to. Again, these are all great traits to have that prepare you for a brighter future in your career. This being said, I highly encourage you to strive to be a leader in group projects as it hold so many benefits.
Being the team member is not necessarily a negative role in a project, but it all depends on how that person works within the group project. The team member must focus on doing their part of the project in a complete and presentable manner. Since they are apart of a group, the team member (not just the leader) should also hold the other members accountable of their tasks in the project. If the team member instead chooses to allow others to do the work for him/her or doesn’t do there part of the project to the best of his/her ability, then that is where issues arise. So make sure to do your part of the project no matter what role you may play in a group project and you should have no problem achieving success!