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Discussion Starter #1
Hey there, all. Got a question for anyone lovely enough to answer.

I'm currently involved in 5-person team effort, one I can't get out of, and I'm dealing with some stress generated by the team dynamics. As it says in the title, I'm not getting listened to during the group work. There are things being done wrong in the group that's going to make our project ultimately not meet its goals, and I'm trying to relay my insight into "we need to fix A, B, and C, and do things differently", but nobody's giving consideration to what I have to say. Meanwhile, all the pitfalls I was trying to warn them about are now slowly happening, one by one.

I feel like Cassandra from Greek myth, and I can say it's no wonder she went mad. I feel like I'm going crazy with this team having all these problems but not being open to insight on how to fix them. If I could, I would just leave, but I can't. It's very frustrating that nobody's giving any credit to my insights, even AFTER something I've said would fail has.

Does anyone have any suggestions for either getting people to listen, or dealing with the stress from when they constantly don't? I'd be especially thankful for some of the latter. The stress from not being able to avoid the problems I've seen coming is monstrous.

If it helps, as far as I can tell, one girl is a young ISFP, another is young INTJ, one is possibly ISFJ, and the other is at least an IFP.
 

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This is incredibly vague and I'm afraid that without details I can only say meaningless stuff like, try harder, try to understand or try communicating with them differently. But that won't help you. Can you be more specific or is it something you can't disclose?
 

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Argh you poor thing! Group work is one of my least favourite things too, especially when it's related to school rather than in the workplace.

What are the group dynamics like? Does one (or more) of them consistently take a leader decision? Are there any other quieter members? Are there some who are more ambitious/lazy than others?
 

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1. pick your battles. I have my doubts that they will listen to your suggestions regarding A, B and C as you noted in your OP. Is there one that is a priority for you?

2. Communicate about facts only if possible. Validate their desire to do well or get a good grade on this project.

3. Don't take their behaviour personally. This isn't easy. I have a sneaking suspicion you probably do know the better way to get this project done. I've been there. I've felt like Cassandra too. It's ok. It doesn't sound like they are going to give you credit for your insights or efforts. It's ok.

4. It is excellent that you posted this for yourself. You advocated for yourself here instead of keeping this to yourself. That will help the stress hopefully that you feel right now.

Depending what the stakes are regarding this project, you may want to talk with the person in charge. If you think that that applies to this situation (it may or may not) try to organize your thoughts, keep your feelings out of it, and list what you are observing as concisely as possible. There are a lot of people who do not like it when an INFJ sees things that they don't and lists 3 pages worth of their INFJ observations. Those are valid though. Share them here if you need!

If this project ends soon and you won't have to deal with this much longer, consider this a learning experience for yourself. It's not your fault that other people don't listen to you. INFJ's do best in groups where they can trust the leader or person in charge (typically an extrovert with insight). When there isn't one in the group, we get stressed. It's ok.
 

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How do you know they're not listening to what you're saying? Has someone said "I'm not listening, you know"?

You say all the members of the group are introverts, maybe they're letting your insights/remarks sink in. Maybe they're still searching for the right words and one of these days one will say "You're right LittleHobbit13! This and this and this we could do like that and...".

Or maybe your class mates just want to get the group work over with, and a B or C is good enough for 'em.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
What are the group dynamics like? Does one (or more) of them consistently take a leader decision? Are there any other quieter members? Are there some who are more ambitious/lazy than others?
It's probably weird, but I actually kind of like groupwork when there's a baseline skill level in each individual of how to work on a team. Then the collaboration can be pretty fun. ...This is not one of those times, lol.

I think one of the bigger problems is for as much as we "agreed" to focus on a single direction, it often feels like there's still a like of individual preferences for "I wanna do this MY way". I would say the first problem is that it was originally supposed to be a 3-person team, but there was another couple of girls (the ISFP and INTJ) who were making similar plans, so the group decided to just work together. I was pretty against this, because 5 personalities is a lot to manage, and because it would've created an unbalanced group dynamic. Sure enough, unbalanced group dynamic happened. I have a fairly intense personality, the IFP has an assertive personality, and the ISFJ has a quieter personality. We balanced well. The ISFP and INTJ have pretty stubborn personalities and they often inhabit each other's mind space very quickly and easily, so it often feels like they never fully came out of their 2-person team mode. A lot of my up front suggests to the team were on how to handle agenda so nobody feels talked over (and then people felt talked over 'cause they didn't follow), how to keep track of ideas (which people also didn't follow), trying to get us to talk about our communication styles so we'd be more understanding (which people didn't feel was super important), etc. Like, a lot of stuff about proven effective groupwork efforts, and how they could be applied to our case, the issues if we didn't, and yet everyone was pretty dismissive. Kind of took the approach that "if we pretend everything is fine, then it will be".

One of our other major problems happened when the ISFP started reading non-existent insults toward the team out of my comments, which I was unable to react well to considering she confronted me in front of the whole team by saying basically "We need to talk about your issues, but then you need to apologize to everyone". Cue anxiety at public humiliation. Ugh. (And she still doesn't get why that was not the best approach if she had concerns. Frustrating.) But anyways, the other 3 kept dancing around the problem, even after I asked them to insert themselves as third parties to stop the problem from getting worse. Except they didn't, and the problem got worse to the point of it now impeding our ability to work. On top of that, the INTJ is now brushing off the hurt feelings people have and is instead harping on the fact that we're not getting the work done that needs to get done (which on a personal level, I took offense at because she actively declined to intercede during conflict before it was too late.

So you can see how there's been a lot of frustrating interactions during this teamwork effort. I'm finding it especially maddening because I keep trying to make suggestions to avoid some of these likely-to-occur difficulties, but they get dismissed as "you're just being negative", and then they happen, and somehow I'm still getting an equal share of the blame?? Like I said, I feel like I'm going crazy.

Or maybe your class mates just want to get the group work over with, and a B or C is good enough for 'em.
Nah, it's not schoolwork. Probably be easier if it was. It's a personal effort that I got stuck participating in, and trust me, if I could get out of it, I would.
 

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What kind of specifics do you want?
Like what is this about, what do you have to do, what is the expectation, what isn't up to specifications, what you think the correct thing is.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
1. pick your battles.

3. Don't take their behaviour personally. This isn't easy. I have a sneaking suspicion you probably do know the better way to get this project done. I've been there. I've felt like Cassandra too. It's ok. It doesn't sound like they are going to give you credit for your insights or efforts. It's ok.
I actually do try to pick my battles, which is why I think it's worse. I'm picking battles, and people STILL aren't listening.

I'm kind of at the point where I'm happy to just give up having a say at all, but at the same time, I can't get out of this commitment to completely avoid the stress. If anyone has suggests for how to keep myself sane in the face of a problem I'm not allowed to fix, that would be ideal for me.

INFJ's do best in groups where they can trust the leader or person in charge (typically an extrovert with insight). When there isn't one in the group, we get stressed. It's ok.
If I had to pick, I'd say that's probably the biggest problem. The more pitfalls we hit that could have been avoided, the more I'm having trouble trusting the group's judgement to make the right call. The trust is rapidly dwindling away, and I think that's one of the more major sources of some of this stress.
 

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It's probably weird, but I actually kind of like groupwork when there's a baseline skill level in each individual of how to work on a team. Then the collaboration can be pretty fun. ...This is not one of those times, lol.
That's not weird! It's just... not been that common in my (recent) experience, haha.

I think one of the bigger problems is for as much as we "agreed" to focus on a single direction, it often feels like there's still a like of individual preferences for "I wanna do this MY way".
Ugh I had a feeling that would be it, but I wanted to ask just to make sure I wasn't making too many assumptions. I've had that sort of arrangement in a living situation (INFJ and probably two ESFP's) and it was... difficult, to say the least. And like you mentioned later, any concerns I raised were dismissed as being negative and not putting enough trust in the group. Obviously never occurred to them that maybe they weren't trustworthy. :p

I have a fairly intense personality, the IFP has an assertive personality, and the ISFJ has a quieter personality. We balanced well. The ISFP and INTJ have pretty stubborn personalities and they often inhabit each other's mind space very quickly and easily, so it often feels like they never fully came out of their 2-person team mode.
How is the ISFJ in all this? I know if there are too many chefs in the kitchen I'll sit back a lot more than in a group with mostly quieter, more timid people. Do things work more smoothly when you step back and let the pushy ones do their thing?

A lot of my up front suggests to the team were on how to handle agenda so nobody feels talked over (and then people felt talked over 'cause they didn't follow), how to keep track of ideas (which people also didn't follow), trying to get us to talk about our communication styles so we'd be more understanding (which people didn't feel was super important), etc. Like, a lot of stuff about proven effective groupwork efforts, and how they could be applied to our case, the issues if we didn't, and yet everyone was pretty dismissive. Kind of took the approach that "if we pretend everything is fine, then it will be".
Been there, done that. It didn't end well. A couple of friendships were broken over it. I wish I had better advice, but I don't. It sounds like they need to learn to grow up and respect other people.

One of our other major problems happened when the ISFP started reading non-existent insults toward the team out of my comments, which I was unable to react well to considering she confronted me in front of the whole team by saying basically "We need to talk about your issues, but then you need to apologize to everyone". Cue anxiety at public humiliation. Ugh. (And she still doesn't get why that was not the best approach if she had concerns. Frustrating.)
Sounds like she was so caught up in her own self-righteous anger that she didn't care how it impacted anyone else. Kind of short-sighted when she needs to work with you! But you said she was quite young, yeah?

But anyways, the other 3 kept dancing around the problem, even after I asked them to insert themselves as third parties to stop the problem from getting worse. Except they didn't, and the problem got worse to the point of it now impeding our ability to work.
Unfortunately you can't trust most people to look out for you if it means them risking their necks. I'm guessing they're worried about getting on this other girl's bad side.

On top of that, the INTJ is now brushing off the hurt feelings people have and is instead harping on the fact that we're not getting the work done that needs to get done (which on a personal level, I took offense at because she actively declined to intercede during conflict before it was too late.
It is unfair. Does she taken things less personally than the rest of you? I wonder if maybe she's having trouble understanding why everyone else is getting caught up in the emotional drama instead of focusing on the task ahead of you. Is there a way you can talk to her privately to come up with some plan to get everything back on track?

Nah, it's not schoolwork. Probably be easier if it was. It's a personal effort that I got stuck participating in, and trust me, if I could get out of it, I would.
Oh that's a pain... my first suggestion would've been to just leave them in their mess, if it's that much of a disaster. One thing I'm trying to learn at the moment is how to balance the need to meet my own personal standards with how much extra work I'm prepared to put in on behalf of the group. XD What is more important to you, at the end of the day? Is it to be satisfied with the project you're involved in, or just to keep your own sanity and/or the goodwill of the people you're working with?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
How is the ISFJ in all this? I know if there are too many chefs in the kitchen I'll sit back a lot more than in a group with mostly quieter, more timid people. Do things work more smoothly when you step back and let the pushy ones do their thing?
Smoothly, maybe. Effectively, not so much. (But then obviously that's subjective, and I'm sure they'd say they were perfectly effective.) The ISFJ tends to observe more than interact. The problem is, she doesn't always step in when it would be helpful for someone with her calmness to step in. The irony of the situation is that nobody wants to speak up and risk being mildly confrontational with someone to say "that was inappropriate", so instead we just let the problem get out of hand until everyone's stressed and hurt. But again, insight had, insight ignored.

Been there, done that. It didn't end well. A couple of friendships were broken over it. I wish I had better advice, but I don't. It sounds like they need to learn to grow up and respect other people.
I think that's where this is headed, which isn't preferable, but it may be unavoidable at this point. As I said, I was supremely against making this an unbalanced 5-person venture because I understood the personality aspect. You can be friendly with people all you want, but at some point it's better not to mix business and personal. It's much healthier to say "we're not a good match to work together" and protect the friendship rather than to suggest that everyone's capable of being professional with each other just because you're friendly.

Unfortunately you can't trust most people to look out for you if it means them risking their necks. I'm guessing they're worried about getting on this other girl's bad side.
Not her bad side in particular. I think everyone's very concerned with hurting anyone's feelings, so nobody's speaking up with they need to speak up. I didn't even ask them to step in and take my side. I asked them explicitly to step in and just interrupt the flow of the argument. I get what you're saying though. I, too, have already learned the lesson of not trusting people to look out for you at their own expense.

It is unfair. Does she taken things less personally than the rest of you? I wonder if maybe she's having trouble understanding why everyone else is getting caught up in the emotional drama instead of focusing on the task ahead of you.
I think she's concerned that the work's not getting done, but she doesn't understand that just because the rest of us are trying to prioritize resolving hurt feelings it doesn't mean we're not also concerned about the work getting done. In my opinion, she just doesn't have enough life experience to understand that you can't separate people's personalities and feelings from the work. You can cover it up, maybe not show it if you're upset, but it doesn't mean you're not upset. I would summarize it as saying she doesn't understand the difference between "being in charge" and "being a leader".

Oh that's a pain... my first suggestion would've been to just leave them in their mess, if it's that much of a disaster. One thing I'm trying to learn at the moment is how to balance the need to meet my own personal standards with how much extra work I'm prepared to put in on behalf of the group. XD What is more important to you, at the end of the day? Is it to be satisfied with the project you're involved in, or just to keep your own sanity and/or the goodwill of the people you're working with?
Lemme tell ya, if I could leave at this point, I would. Unfortunately I'm kind of stuck, hence my dilemma. I'd rather everyone just work together and stop fighting, but I'm fairly confident that we've crossed the threshold on that. "Playing nice" isn't really an option anymore, because there are hurt feelings and resentment and bitternesss all over the place. That's where a great deal of my stress and frustration is coming from right now. The idea that everyone's bitter at each other and the work's not getting done, and if they'd only given consideration to when I tried to get us to avoid this endgame, but nobody wanted to entertain the idea that things could go wrong enough to try and avoid it. Now it's too late.

It's super frustrating, but I'm just trying to find ways to manage my stress at this point.
 

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If they don't listen to words, maybe you can write it all down and send it as an e-mail? You can express yourself better, they will have private time to think about it, and if nothing else, you will have written proof of your warnings if things go wrong.
 

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If they don't listen to words, maybe you can write it all down and send it as an e-mail? You can express yourself better, they will have private time to think about it, and if nothing else, you will have written proof of your warnings if things go wrong.
That's normally my go-to approach because I'm a fairly decent writer and yes, I am much better at expressing myself that way. Sadly, it didn't take. :(
 

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Actionables, deadlines and writing down peoples roles and responsibilities is often the most direct one can be alongside team ground rules...even when there is animosity it often helps to have one distributor-problem solver of communication and paper email schedules people can't deny or devalue (well at least according to a project management qualification I did).
In reality groups always test one another until a head voice is found.
 

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Actionables, deadlines and writing down peoples roles and responsibilities is often the most direct one can be alongside team ground rules...even when there is animosity it often helps to have one distributor-problem solver of communication and paper email schedules people can't deny or devalue (well at least according to a project management qualification I did).
In reality groups always test one another until a head voice is found.
I was gunning for pretty much all this stuff, but I kept getting told I was being too serious. I've got some project management training under my belt as well. (Though I keep procrastinating on getting a cert for it.) :)

I think our "head voice" has come about from a combination of people being pushy enough that they just don't want to accept that they're not best qualified for the job and everyone else not wanting to tell them otherwise.

I feel bad, like I'm being super negative and just shooting down all these very nice suggestions, but I really have tried most of this stuff. That's why I'm so frustrated with the situation.
 

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I was gunning for pretty much all this stuff, but I kept getting told I was being too serious. I've got some project management training under my belt as well. (Though I keep procrastinating on getting a cert for it.) :)

I think our "head voice" has come about from a combination of people being pushy enough that they just don't want to accept that they're not best qualified for the job and everyone else not wanting to tell them otherwise.

I feel bad, like I'm being super negative and just shooting down all these very nice suggestions, but I really have tried most of this stuff. That's why I'm so frustrated with the situation.
A position I know well too, learning to be the voice of reason at the start then to back away until problems occur...when they occur, reiterate the problem and offer a solution until others see you as an authority figure, utilising silence and the visible facade of being prepared for eventualities.
The rest is a matter of minority psychology i.e. being socially consistent, simple language and using the power of quiet to not compete or shoehorn while seeming less rigid to compromise.
If this fails go along with ideas until problems arise, building rapport then make less invasive suggestions until changes happen in the group.
 

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A lot of the time, when problems like this arise in group work it's because other people don't care as much as you and don't feel like making any changes because it means more work. A lot of people don't have the same standards that INFJs have, and they're okay with "average" work. It can be incredibly frustrating. It kind of means either taking a lower grade or being like "hey, I'll do whatever has to get one" and you end up overworking yourself. Neither is fun.

But I'll give a little bit of advice: Is there any way you can talk to the people in your group individually? It's a LOT easier trying to convince one person of something than trying to sway an entire group. Maybe pick at each person one by one until they're all on board? It's a bit sneaky, but it can work.
 

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learning to be the voice of reason at the start then to back away until problems occur...when they occur, reiterate the problem and offer a solution until others see you as an authority figure, utilizing silence and the visible facade of being prepared for eventualities.
I think this particular situation is too far gone for that approach, but I'm definitely gonna practice to be better at this in the future because it seems like a great solution to when you don't have enough natural charisma to get your voice heard.

A lot of the time, when problems like this arise in group work it's because other people don't care as much as you and don't feel like making any changes because it means more work. [...]

But I'll give a little bit of advice: Is there any way you can talk to the people in your group individually? It's a LOT easier trying to convince one person of something than trying to sway an entire group. Maybe pick at each person one by one until they're all on board? It's a bit sneaky, but it can work.
Definitely been there with the people caring at different levels. I think this might be more like people just caring in different ways though. Everyone has their mind made up on what's most important to care about. I talked to 2 of them individually, and yes you're right, that works much more effectively, but the other two, the ISFP and the INTJ, are so joined at the hip and attached to their own ideas that it's not effective.
 
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