Back in my freshman year, I had a bad case of breakdown in communication while carrying out a group project. The trouble with it was that it was double prolonged. There was a miscommunication between the group and the professor and a dispute among the members themselves.
The class was supposed to have group projects that were due in a month. The professor formed the groups to his own liking without giving the students a chance to form their own groups. This left some resentful. On top of that, the group leaders were appointed by him too on the premise that he was better at identifying talented individuals than the rest of us. The group leaders were supposed to choose from a list of projects the ones they would want their group to carry out. Our group leader was a narcissist. He went for the most complicated project without seeking input from the rest of the members. The project could not be accomplished in one month and this was pointed out. The group leader ignored these sentiments. The meetings were held at the convenience of the leader and there was a missing individual always in each meeting.
The group consisted of six individuals. Four of these were extraverts, including the group leader. Meetings always ended up as arguments amongst these extraverts while we remained irrelevant. Any suggestions made by us were never considered. I felt that this project was too complex to be done in a month and pointed that out to the group leader. I did so in the meetings where I got backed by the rest of the members. The leader, however, never paid attention and felt that we had more than enough time. We requested him to ask the professor for an extension, but he did not. I took the initiative and informed the professor of the need to have an extended period to complete our project. The professor asked me to follow the proper communication channels. I was supposed to communicate that to the group leader who would then get the message to the lecturer. My pleas to the tutor that I had already done that were not heeded.
After that encounter, I felt little motivation to continue contributing to the group. I became passive and just watched as the events unfolded. The extraverts dominated most of the activities of the group and had a lot of conflicts. As time passed and the deadline for project submission approached, it became apparent that the outspoken group members were not as competent as they claimed to be. The resulting weaknesses in the projects were blamed on the passive participants. The dominant extraverts branded the two of us lazy.
The period given to complete the project was over before we were done. The professor agreed to give our group an extension on condition that we would get lower grades. I learnt from this experience that it might be difficult to have effective communication between persons with conflicting personalities. I came to realize the inefficiencies caused by bureaucracy as far as communication is concerned. I also came to the conclusion that it is better to state the expectations of each and everyone in a team before embarking on any task. The personalities of the persons in our group could have become complementary if we had held a bonding session and gotten to know each other better. This is a mistake that I do not intend to make again in future.
I had initially blamed the professor for the failure of our group. I thought we would have performed better had we been allowed to form our own teams. Later on, I understood that one does not always choose who they work with. Having one’s expectations communicated before hand is the key. I believe we would have understood each other better and worked better if we had bonded before starting to work on the project.