Team collaboration has become all too necessary in the career field. This also means that schools strive to expose students to this harsh reality early on by including group work in nearly every class.
1. Classic lazy people
No one wants to work with the lazy one.
Perhaps the first example anyone thinks of when thinking of undesirable group members, the lazy group member seems to not care. About you or your grade. Even about their grade.
I feel lazy right about now; maaaaybe too lazy to include your name on our project.
2. Clique members
Always together, always talking, yet the project goes untouched.
Everyone gets excited when they get put in a group with their friends. On the other hand, it's usually well-known when a clique enters into a group to socialize instead of put in work.
Students, please work constructively with your friends instead of putting others in the blast radius of your passive participation.
3. No-communication ghosts
Scared? You probably should be; you might have to do their part before they even bother to respond with their excuse.
Delegation probably went on in class. You can do this portion; I'll check it; you do the rest. This person usually doesn't even have much to do. Other times, any part is reliant upon the rest or is a major part of a huge project.
Three days pass. Texts go unanswered; maybe you've been left on read.
Deadline straight ahead, and this ghost isn't anywhere to be found on the ghost detector. You start on their portion just to pass the project, but it's difficult as you were working on and pacing your assignments. They might not even show up for the presentation, and it might be for the best if you break it off with this ghosting partner.
4. People who haven't got a clue
You might have already discussed it. Several times. But what was I assigned again?
There seems to always be one person who chronically forgets anything and everything to a major fault. They forget what they were assigned. Once that's sorted, they forget how to do it. When is it due again?
5. Correct you, even as they are wrong
Apparently you didn't do it right, but how to do it is beyond them.
This unfortunately happens all the time. One would think they'd eventually learn to trust you.
Annotated bibliography worth half the project grade? They either have never heard of MLA or APA, but whatever you're doing looks wrong.
Your PowerPoint doesn't have enough on it. Why, of course, we should definitely put walls of text on the slides and then read it word for word. (Note: never do this. It's probably the most common presentation mistake, as you should know the information well enough to discuss it instead of reading copy-pasted research.)
Take a chill pill, sit down and be humble. You can thank me when we get our grades back.
6. Generally overbearing
Could you just like.... do the entire project for me?
This member definitely wants to be in charge. Why should they be in charge? To assign you and the other members the majority of, if not the entire project, of course! Supervisors are the most important as well as most highly compensated workers, you know.
7. Mooches merely for the grade
They couldn't make it to any of the meetings, and their wifi wasn't working at their house. But their name is on it, right?
I've had so many of these partners that I've lost count. If you turn in consistently good grades, these parasites are automatically attracted to you. You might feel obligated to be nice and agree to work with this person at first, as initially there's no reason to deny them. Once you get into the nit and grit of the project, though, they make it clear they paired up with you specifically to not do any work.
8. All their work is plagiarized
"Yeah you can use mine, just change it up a bit so it doesn't make it obvious you cheated." Proceeds to copy/paste the entire assignment.
What do you mean they didn't do their part? Didn't you see the 10+ lines of work copied straight from Wikipedia, hyperlinks and citations still embedded and all? Sorry bud, I'm not risking expulsion due to your laziness.
9. If they can't have a good grade, no one can
Don't bother checking the grade book, they even turn it in.
Beyond lazy, this group member can ruin everyone's grade. Peer review for group projects can go both ways, and these members usually don't find a need to be honest in their review. It likely doesn't help they couldn't give an accurate review anyways because they weren't there, but in the end it's your word against theirs.
Good enough saboteurs can win out this battle and make you get their deserved subpar grade. In my opinion, these are the worst group mates because they can consistently get away with it.
10. Must be in charge. What group?
Your way or the highway? I think I'll chance the highway.
As seems to be the trend, everyone else is competent in your group. Even this dictator may be competent, but they don't need to overly assert themselves this way. No, you don't have to do it all yourself or fear it won't get done right. It's a group project for a reason. Let us help you!
11. Where are they now?
Why can't they meet Tuesday? No clue; they didn't show up to class last week.
How convenient that this person is sick right when we're set to present. It would be unfortunate if true, but they were able to hang out with their girlfriends just fine.
That, and she just posted a selfie with her iced coffee on Instagram. And her Snapchat story. And Twitter. #starbucks!
Groups really can be the worst, but allegedly they exist in the workplace and so you'll just have to deal with them. (I know personally that anything done collaboratively in my workplace has people half-doing stuff as well.)
Have you encountered these species of group members? If one of these leaves an especially bad taste in your mouth, you might be guilty yourself. I'm going to make it a resolution to be a better group mate and practice what I preach, and I encourage you to do the same.