Group project myths

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Group project myths

Let's choose one leader.

Teams need leadership, but this is best distributed across members rather than assigned to one person. Divide leadership into separate roles based on strengths, such as executer, strategist, influencer, and team-builder.

We don't need to meet.

Research has shown that the most successful collaborations are those that involve in-person meetings, video, and conferences. Connecting face-to-face with team members can foster informal social connections that keep the team committed and functioning well.

Let's jump in and stop wasting time.

To save time and make better decisions, first spend time discussing what assets and preferences each person has and discuss how you will work together.

Since no one disagrees, we all agree.

Sometimes teams make a decision that everyone secretly disagrees with because no one voices their true opinion. This can cause the team to take a direction that no one supports, leaving members frustrated. Before a decision is finalized, make sure all members have stated their true positions on it. Silence may well mean there is disagreement.

We're one big happy family.

Conflict is inevitable in interdependent groups and, in fact, can be productive for generating better ideas and products. So learn to manage conflict rather than avoiding it. Think of disagreement during decision-making as a necessary part of the process that encourages team members to generate as many creative ideas as possible before finalizing a decision.

If you don't participate, that's your problem.

If one member doesn't participate, it's the whole team's problem. For the best product, a team needs to draw upon the ideas and skills of all members. Don't make assumptions about why a team member isn't participating. Instead encourage their participation by asking for their input and by identifying and addressing any barriers to their participation. It may be that one or two people are dominating the discussion, discouraging some from participating.