I've always hated working in groups for something that I can do on my own. Whenever I have to deal with a team to get a job done, I just seem to lose my energy, despite that the work is being done by more than one person. However, there is only 1 condition that can make me enjoy working in teams and gain extra benefits, and that's if all the people in the group (or most) are on the same level of thinking and understanding :D
I understand that there are many tasks that a Human being can't do on his or her own and needs to do it in a team in order to succeed, however, what if the team you want to work with have completely 360 degree different views than what the team leader is asking them to do and they never listen to the orders? Do you think it's better for the leader to do things on his or her own way than dealing with a team whom never listen to the group organizer and do completely different tasks like they care? Let me tell you a story of what happened in the university in this very month (May).
The story goes that our instructor asked us to create a research paper for a topic of choice and thus present it to the students of what we have learned. Cool, I couldn't wait to do that. BUT...when the teacher said "You can also work in groups if you want", a wave of people came to me and said that they wanted to participate in the project as well. I never had the intention of doing the project in a group, but there were 2 reasons why I accepted them in the group. First because I can't just tell them "Sorry, I work alone, I don't want you in my group", that's just too rude, secondly, one of these guys who wanted to participate (Ahmade88) did have a nice interest in the project, so I trusted that he will help me cover things up if the other group members mess things up. Unfortunatly, Ahmade88 dropped the course later on because he felt that his GPA might get lowered due to his marks in the quizes. So I was left alone with the rest of the group members whom didn't seem to care much about the project :P
2 weeks later:
2 weeks passed, I've sent them e-mails of the updates regarding the research paper and our powerpoint presentation. One of the group members did give some replies indicating that he has read my mails, but what about the rest of the group members? Well, I've recieved only 1 reply from one of the group members and 0 replies from the other through the 2 weeks, even though I've sent them around 6 mails as far as I remember :P
1 week later (9th of May 2009):
On the same day that we had to make the presentation (Saturday 9th of May), one of the group members just called and said "Ok, what should I talk about in the presentation today?" Great, it seemed like the group members were only planning to read from a paper and claim it as a "Presentation", very nice. I asked the instructor to delay our presentation 1 more week and he was kind enough to do so. BUT, I told the team members that they should be really prepared this time and avoid reading from a paper, they should present in their own words, not read from a paper. They said "Ok, we will make sure of that". We will see, time has passed, again I've sent them several mails through this week to ensure that they are prepared, yet again, one of them responded to 1/3 of the mails I've sent and the other 0/3 :P
1 week later (16th of May 2009):
The presentation day has arrived (Yesterday, 16th of May). I arrived at the university and told the team members "Ok, are you all prepared?". Guess what, they said "Yes" and showed me a paper in their hands where they have summerized some stuffs from the research paper I made! So much for "We will explain in our own words, don't worry". The presentation started, I explained the slides that I had to explain (Which took me like 10 mins explanation of a single slide) and it seemed like the students were paying attention, it was the only presentation in the course where the teacher was interested to ask questions to learn from us, thank god. But now, the time came for the group members to explain their parts.....
The first guy rised his paper and started reading. Clearly he was reading slowly as if he hasn't read the paper before, and even some words on the paper made him stop and focus a little on that word and then said it slowly. Guess that was enough indication to the students that he wasn't prepared but rather he was more like a "Reader" than a "Presenter". I could be wrong, but I felt bored over his explanation before any of the students did. The second guy came in, same thing, read from a paper and finished a single slide in within 2 mins (Even though it requires at least 10 mins explanation to make the students understand that slide). Phew! At least the teacher did not evaluate the marks on the presentation but rather on the student's performance. Which indicated that I would likely get good marks for it :D
But thankfully, the presentation was a success, it could have been better if there were more qualified group members or at least if I did it on my own. It's embarresing to say that because when you're working in a group, the efforts must be at least doubled, but due to having group members who don't co-operate with the team organizer, grouping has only weakened something that could have been stronger if 1 person did it, but at least the students did show some positive views and most importantly, they seemed excited to ask questions plus the teacher himself, which they didn't do for other presentations.
So the lesson that I have learned in here is. Whenever you want to lead a team, make sure that the people with you are on the same level (or almost the same level) of thinking and understand as you are, otherwise you will notice that team work will only make things weaker, just like how it happened with our project yesterday. Maybe that's why I always prefer playing single player games and don't enjoy multiplayer much, because if you're playing with or against another player who has complete different gaming views that you do, problems will arrise in the middle of the game and thus cause some stresses. Better to work alone and fail than work in a team and get an outcome that you don't disserve ;)