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Updated on July 9, 2010

Do you hate group projects because you always seem to end up doing all the work?

Group assignments or projects are a reality at every level. At the top, it may be the overall picture being tasked out (delegated) to the various department heads and then those departments again reapportion duties to Captains, Capos to Lieutenants, Lieutenants to Sargent s down to the PFC grunts in the trenches.

Recently my grand niece posed a question/complaint on her FaceBook status that read something along the lines of... "I hate group projects! Why do I always seem to end up to be the only person working on it, and..?" You get the idea.

Now at the top, if your department gets saddled with the bulk of the work... that can translate into major kudos for you and your crew if you know how to navigate and manage the stream of recognition for a job well done and take full responsibility for a short fall. And, as we all know, you don't blame your crew for the failure... that is all your's, and the praise for a win is your crew's.

This sets the example for those "team players" such as my niece, who get "punished" by those on their team that polish the chairs in the break room with their backsides rather than the keyboards and mouses of their workstation. And it can be a very valuable example, if those at the Captain, Lieutenant, and Sargent levels can convey the management model provided by the great example they work for.

This "trickle down" construct can only have its power as a management philosophy worthy of being followed if it is gently enforced by the General to the Captain, all the way to my niece the PFC.

How is this "gently enforced" you ask? Attentiveness, active listening, rewarding successes (especially those that follow the model), and coaching the failures. Again with you taking full responsibility for the shortfall. Generosity of your confidence, even for those that "need a little tweaking" of their skills. Generosity of your (company's) time, follow your own model (example) be present with your crew, involve yourself in them.

The higher up the food chain you are the more intimidating you are to rank and file... do as much as you can to stop this cancer, it hinders your purposes.

Back to my niece's question... "I hate group projects! Why do I always seem to end up to be the only person working on it, and..?"

Well there are many reasons and answers to her dilemma, here are some ideas and these with a little tweaking are applicable on nearly every level, but especially the Captains on down...

  • Are you one of the "take charge" types? If so, then you have your explanation in the probability that you might not take charge enough to delegate duties, resulting in you doing everything by default.

  • If you do delegate duties... do you not delegate enough work for others, and thereby leave too much for yourself?

  • If having delegated, do you monitor your delegates progress and micro manage him her or them into frustration and ultimate inactivity?

  • Or... are you possibly the type... when the take charge person comes around and gives you too much for your plate, that you cannot kindly tell him or her, "no"? By kindly, I mean give a brief description of what is already on your plate.

Certainly we all want to get as much out of our peeps as they are able to give, but a fearful work environment does not promote desire for advancement of one's career (at least it shouldn't), or advancement of the business one works for. On the other hand, assurances of recognition of jobs well done, and nurturing the novices along until they flourish at any new task, speaks of a thriving environment, and generates across the board enthusiasm.

Any business should throw resources to the departments that can be uber-productive with what they are given. If, for example your department has had so much recent success that you have a temporary surplus of personnel, offer green time (time off) to those who need it and those who don't... loan them out to other departments. This will endear you to those you manage and endear you and your crew to other departments, and it promotes over all success. More specifically it will endear you to the bean counters that monitor the company's productivity and bottom line. With the result that, what you say your department needs, is probably what you will get.

Even if you don't work in an environment that promotes this model company wide... if it happens to be your personal model you will flourish no matter where you work.

And always remember, great leadership skills can be found among the High School GED'ers if they are (given) gifted with the proper models and motivation.


If anyone has an issue(s) they would like addressed in or by a separate Hub please pose your query among the comments below. Remember to keep everything "G" rated...

Thank you.



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    • CoauthorU profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Inland Northwest, USA

      I will amend it thanks.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I'd like to point out the problem with this sentence:

      "If you do delegate duties... do you delegate too much for yourself to do?"

      You can't delegate to yourself.

      Interesting article otherwise, though.


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