You will have to work in a group at some point in your life. Or maybe, you find yourself working in groups constantly already. While group work can be a great way to collaborate, share knowledge, and work on different aspects of a project, it can also be challenging to work alongside many different personalities.
Because group work is common in secondary school settings (and throughout college and life) we incorporated group work into Emozi® Middle School and the upcoming Emozi® High School curricula.
This post takes its readers through the different roles within a group, how to figure out which roles you thrive in, and ultimately how to work successfully with others.
Different members of a group
Within each group, there are different "characters." Like in the movies, each character has a role and different strengths and weaknesses. Some people fit different "characters" better and more naturally than others because of their preferences.
The Leader has a 10,000-foot view of a project and usually delegates responsibilities to other group members. Leaders help mediate conflict between group members, keep everyone on track with the deadlines, and schedule group meetings. Those who have strong leadership and good communication skills will likely enjoy the role of the Leader. Before starting a project, it is important to establish who in the group will take on this role.
The Researcher is curious, asks questions, and has the motivation to find the answers. The researcher is your go-to person within a group for compiling your information about the project. Remember, there can be more than one researcher within a group!
The Planner within a group is similar to "the mother" of a group. They keep everyone organized and are the right-hand man to the Leader. Planners excel in list-making, flow charts, and progress reports; they are organized and efficient. A natural planner is self-motivated, self-efficient, and trusts in their ability.
The Creative in the group will be someone who excels at design. This person will be creative, imaginative, and good at designing the overall theme and feel of your project. The Creative is not always the best at verbal expression and may need guidance and direction. But when focused, they can produce amazing work that elevates the overall project.
Unfortunately, there is almost always at least one Freeloader within a group. This person does little, if any, work to contribute to the project. This person may be late to group meetings, not contribute to the project's process, and be unreliable in getting their work done. Do not be this type of group member!
The Dictator is someone who may mean well but tends to be bossy and attempt to take over the objectives and goals of the project. The dictator may also speak over others and think that their ideas are the only ones that matter. While it is good to be ambitious and excited about a project, it is easier to work together as a group when everyone's opinions and ideas are heard.
The "Behind the Scenes"
The Behind the Scenes member is often overlooked but contributes vital work to a group. While they may not be as bold as other members, they are steady workers who can be counted on. Behind the Scenes, people prefer not to be in the spotlight. When with proper instruction, they produce spot-on work.
The Presenter works well with the Leader and the Planner; they are the ones who are likely to Present the project and help to give it focus. Those who fit the Presenter role well are headstrong and well-spoken.
Which Type of member am I?
While there are more types of members within a group, these are a few of the primary and most present members that are common within a group. It can be beneficial to try different roles firsthand to see which roles feel the best for you. Knowing what roles are best for you can help you thrive and contribute effectively within a group. Read through these different role archetypes and see which ones call to you. Then, in your next group setting, try out a new role! When full of confident individuals that excel in different areas, the whole group can flourish.
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