Most students have had the experience of another student not doing what was needed on a project team. Freeloaders are one of the major complaints that students have about project teams.
How do you avoid the problems of a freeloader? There is no guaranteed approach to this, but having team rules can help a lot.
Team rules are in essence a limited set of practices that everyone on the team agrees to. The rules generally cover such topics as:
- Attendance at team work sessions
- Completion of team assignments
- Quality of work complete
- Contributions made to the team’s ideas
- Selection of team roles
- Team behavioral norms
- Consequences for not following the team rules
These team rules are generally set at the initial meeting of the team. It’s also a good idea to review the rules each time the team gets together.
The rules need to be vigorously enforced if they are to be effective. Knowing that a team member can and will be removed from a team for violating the rules is generally an incentive for all team members to do their work.
While these team rules may seem to be excessive they are commonly used by teams in organizations where you may work. It’s good to get in the habit of doing these.
Sample Team Rules
- We will have 100% attendance at all team work sessions
- All team assignments will be completed by the date and time assigned
- Work that is completed will require minimal rework
- Each team member is expected to contribute valuable ideas to the project assignment
- We will select a team leader and communications person
- We will be respectful and supportive of each other.
- Any person who consistently violates these rules will receive a warning and if improvements aren’t made will be removed from the team.