Taking the lead in group projects isn't for everyone...
Whether you're assigned the leader or you just like to assign yourself to the task, there are some things you'll definitely know to be true.
1. Trying to find a time when everyone is free to meet is harder than doing the work itself.
It should be one of the easiest parts of the project, and yet it ends up being the most stressful. You will never find a time when everyone is free, and even if you do, there'll always be someone who doesn't turn up.
2. Needing to make it seem like you know exactly what you're doing even though, sometimes, you don't.
In the early days of a project, you don't necessarily know what you're doing any more than anyone else, but someone has to take control and that someone is you. It would be so easy to take a back seat and let someone else lead, but you know you'd just end up judging them and wishing you'd done it yourself.
3. Having your diplomacy skills tested to the max by everyone's conflicting ideas.
Arguably the only thing that's worse than no one caring about a project is ending up in a 'too many cooks in the kitchen'-type scenario, where everyone thinks their ideas are the best. By the end of the project, you're running out of constructive ways to say "I think your idea is shi*t".
4. Accepting that some of your group won't like you.
You won't always want to do a project any more than the others in your group, especially if it's for a module you're not all that keen on, but you're the leader, so it's fallen on you to be the motivator, which sometimes means forcing people to care more than they want to - something they won't thank you for.
5. Frequently wishing you could just do it all by yourself.
There are times when you just know that you could do something better than someone else, but you cant exactly say it to them without offending them or making more work for yourself.
6. Being more concerned about how the others in your group will do than yourself.
As group leader, generally, you've got lots of confidence in your own ability to succeed, but not so much in certain others'. Especially the ones that almost never turned up to any of the meetings.
7. The pressure of knowing that if everything goes wrong you'll get the blame.
One of the greatest downsides of assuming the position of group leader is that if anything goes wrong, it'll be on your head, even if it wasn't your fault. No one will care if you tried to do everything right; all they'll focus on is that it went wrong.
8. Hardly daring to believe it when things actually start to come together.
After battling meeting no-shows, mid-project meltdowns and last-minute changes of plans, seeing everyone's work start to come together sometimes feels too good to be true.
9. Having to bite your tongue when the whole group gets a good mark even if you ended up doing more work than certain people.
As happy as you are for a project to have gone well, you're not going to deny how unfair it is for people who didn't contribute anywhere near as much work as you to receive just as good a mark. You won't hold onto the bitterness though; not everyone can be as good as you, right?
10. Regretting nothing about being the leader, in spite of everything.
It can be stressful, it can be tiring, sometimes it can be downright infuriating, but when it all goes well, the sense of achievement you feel makes it all worth it.
Your leadership skills got you through uni group projects, now let them get you a place on a graduate scheme.
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