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Annoying teammates and how to deal with them

There's nothing worse than getting stuck with annoying teammates for group assignments, but you can survive them if you keep some tips in mind. Source: Shutterstock

Depending on your university programme, group work may be minimal or heavily incorporated into your course.

Whether or not you love or hate them, chances are you will still have to endure them, not just in university but also once you step foot in the working world.

While treading these waters will indefinitely test your temper, working with taxing personalities when completing your group assignment serves as a character-building experience.

Without further ado, here are four common types of teammates you are bound to encounter in university and how you can deal with them:

1. The no-show teammate

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Also known as the lazy teammate, this person will likely be missing in most, if not all your group meetings.

The no-show teammate will leave messages and emails unanswered, which can be frustrating for the team who may be counting on them to contribute towards the team’s grades.

It can be challenging to communicate with this teammate if they’re always uncontactable.

However, if you’ve exhausted all measures to try and speak with them, you may have no choice but to go for the jugular and speak with your lecturer or professor about getting them removed from the group.

2. The procrastinator teammate

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The procrastinator teammate may be present during group meetings and have promised to deliver their work by the stipulated deadline, but you’ll often find that they usually don’t live up to their word.  

It may feel like a Herculean task not to lose your temper with this teammate, but it’s important to take a step back, breathe, and consider the fact that everyone works at a different pace.

Some students need the last minute rush to get their juices flowing, while others prefer to get things done, little by little so that by the time their deadline looms, they’ve already completed their work.

Speak with your teammates to ensure everyone is aware of their deadlines and why it’s important they complete it by the stipulated time. Depending on the nature of your project, some teammates may not be able to work on their part without the contribution of their teammates.

Alternatively, if they remain difficult, give this teammate an earlier deadline for their task.

This way, you’ll still have time to get them to re-do their work if it’s subpar. If all else fails, approach your lecturer or professor about how you can solve this problem – sometimes, it takes an authority figure to galvanise a procrastinator into action.

3. The quiet teammate

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The quiet teammate may be responsible enough to attend group meetings and complete their tasks dutifully, but the frustration arises when they do not speak up during group meetings to share their ideas, or refuse to speak during a group presentation.

But you and your team can work something out – perhaps this member is shy and needs some encouragement from his or her teammates to speak up during meetings. You can encourage them to share their ideas or comments with the team via text or email if speaking in a group makes them uncomfortable.

If a presentation is required and they are reluctant to speak, you could suggest that they present a shorter portion of the presentation. After all, not everyone enjoys delivering a presentation; regardless, it’s important for everyone to step out of their comfort zones and give it their best.  

4. The high achiever

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When compared to the rest, working with a high achiever teammate can seem like getting the better end of the deal – at least, you can be assured that they care about the team’s grade and in getting the project completed.

However, their impossibly high standards may result in them micromanaging or controlling the team and project. This includes constantly checking on the team’s progress to shouldering more responsibilities as they may not trust their capable teammates.

While undoubtedly frustrating to deal with, it’s best to speak with them in person rather than via text to avoid any miscommunication before things get out of hand.

Communicate calmly and openly – explain to your teammate that while you appreciate their effort, everyone is pulling their weight to ensure things are completed. Perhaps they may not realise that they were becoming high-strung about the project and how their actions impacted the team.

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