Working in a Group
Group work is essential for success especially in doing research. Working as a group facilitates brainstorming and exchange of ideas. Therefore, it is a way of achieving better results. However, working in groups is sometimes a challenging exercise. Very few people are able to work effectively in groups. Situations where some people fail to handle their responsibilities are common. This frustrates other people’s efforts and often leads to undesired results.
While working in a group, it is always important to foster collaboration. Therefore, when problems such as non-collaborative members arise, it is important to find ways of solving them. In a group, it is important to divide up responsibilities among members. Dividing up responsibilities help prevent situations where some members do more work than others. Another critical aspect of group work is listening actively to points presented by other members. As a group leader and member, it is essential to create a productive environment by listening actively to opinions of other members. Consequently, each member feels appreciated and motivated to work for group benefit. These strategies aid in preventing conflicts and fostering collaborative environments. It is always important to foresee problems and devise solutions to them before they affect group performance.
However, when some members become difficult to manage, stricter solutions should be taken before their behavior impact on group performance. As a group leader, it is not advisable to tolerate members whose behavior will eventually affect the performance of the entire group. The group should report such members to the teacher and relevant authorities. The group should then adjust to work with fewer members to successfully complete assigned tasks. For a group to achieve its goals, it is important to foster collaboration and eliminate all impeding aspects.
The devil’s advocate is a group member responsible for developing arguments. Their main duty is to argue against a position to determine their validity. These members are essential in group discussions because they help identify weaknesses in ideas. Without a devil’s advocate, it is easier for a group to agree on certain positions resulting from group think or from persuasive group members. Devil’s advocates are also good at encouraging debates in a group. In a majority of cases, they are always open to ideas and would encourage discussions by bringing in different perspectives of an idea. A devil’s advocate identifies limitations in a proposed idea, and provides the group with an opportunity to add new insights into it. Therefore, a devil’s advocate can help produce better group results. They see an idea from different perspectives and help enrich it with more information.
However, the devil’s advocate position can be problematic if not handled properly. The position can generate bad relationships between members especially when arguing against ideas proposed by others. Sometimes, devil’s advocates can argue against an idea just for the sake of arguing to protect their position. They fail to point out weaknesses within ideas with the expected honesty. They end up disrupting good discussions and fail to generate solutions to existing problems.
Working in groups can be very fruitful. It helps prepare students for future research projects and professions that will need collaboration. It also helps booster performance by generating the best possible results. Group discussions also create room for students to brainstorm and share ideas. Therefore, it is important to make effort to foster an environment that encourages collaborations.