Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Importance of Ground Rules

Establishing ground rules is crucial to a group’s success.   If ground rules are not established at the beginning meetings, I think that it is important to find if they are needed.  A good way to gauge this is to see if everyone in the group is fully participating.  If a group member is refraining from adding ideas or seems left out.  One way of making this left out teammate feel necessary or respected would be to set up ground rules.
For example, in one group project that I have encountered, one of the girls who’s personality was pretty outgoing in normal class environments, did not participate for the first month of our group meetings.  I knew that she had valuable ideas, but just wouldn’t elaborate on them and seemed sort of bothered by something during team meetings.  It turned one of the leaders in the group was being mean to her and no one even realized it. He would make comments about her being a good secretary and her note taking abilities consistently for the first month.  It got to the point where she had to go see the professor of the class.  When the professor called the team members to his office the first thing that he talked about was setting up ground rules and common team goals.  After this meeting between the entire group and the professor, we ended up completing the project working better together as a team.  Most of all, everyone collaborated and respected each other from that point forward.
If I see this type of interaction again between group members, I think that it will be important to talk to the entire group right away and make sure that everyone is aware of various issues between group members and that they will not affect the completion of the project.   
So if ground rules are not a part of a team’s project it’s important for someone in the group, whether it is the person who is the leader or another person in the group to speak up and make sure that the entire team is operating on the same page.   It’s every teammate’s responsibility and not just the main leader or group organizer.  Establishing ground rules is a simple step while seeking quality teamwork and it is EVERY single group member’s responsibility.  Ideally setting up ground rules in the first meeting is essential to every project.


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