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I am a leader of my undergraduate thesis team and we have 3 members. My team performance is lower than every others team in my class (i.e, they will need more time to complete a task than anyone).

Because of that reason, when working with them, I don't rush them or set too many deadlines, instead, I just usually ask about their progress and help them solve their problems.

But the deadline is coming, and I ask a member that "Can you give a day that you think this task will be completed?". He said that "why you keep rushing me, how about your work, have you done it?" and after I told him my progress (does not finish), he said, "Instead of rushing me, why don't you finish your works?".

And after this, it is a conversation of him question what I have done so far.

The problem is I do not rush him, I just want to know the time he estimates it.

About this member, he often gets angry if the task is hard and has to do it by himself. He usually judges others' works and when they ask how to do it, he just says google it by yourself, this is your task.

How can I handle this situation? How can I help him stay calm and listen to everyone when working as a team?

Update:

To answer @Lewian's question:

  • This project is our final thesis for the undergraduate.
  • We formed the team by our choice. So after we formed our team, they chose me to become a team leader for this project because I have more experience in research and works.
  • "How these "teams" are organized?" - I don't really understand this question but each team will do a different thesis topic, each team will have 2 - 3 members and work with a supervisor from the faculty.
  • "How can you know that "my team performance is lower than every other team"?" - Because our class size is small, we usually learn together in almost every course. I worked with them on some course projects so I know how they work and can compare their performance with others students in our class.
  • "To what extent is your course result dependent on how your team members work?" - The course result will be graded by our faculty committee, they will judge on our overall results and each member's works.
  • "On previous tasks (if they exist), to what extent was your performance affected by the teammate this question is about, or actually your own work?"
    1. So his task is like DevOps (he will install all the libraries, packages, etc), we need him to make everything available so we can work on the algorithm. He did this before on our computer so now, he does it again on our university server (because we need a more powerful machine).
    2. I said the deadline is coming means the research paper submission. We need to run many experiments on our university server to have some results for the paper. So if he doesn't finish the installation, we cannot run anything and we may not submit our paper on time.
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    "Instead of rushing me, why don't you finish your works?" Well, he's kinda told you what he wants you to do, and it's fairly reasonable, honestly. Jun 13 at 6:23
  • @user3482749 Yes, I still have to work on my task. I just don't why he reacts like that because I don't rush him.
    – huy
    Jun 13 at 11:28
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    Some people do not like to be prodded. If they have a history of completing on time, leave them alone. If they have a history of being late, you have your reason why you ask. However, make sure you are always on time, in this case. Either this, or else adopt a more collaborative decision-making process. Jun 13 at 11:55
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    Can you explain more how these "teams" are organised? Who put them together? How did you become a "leader"? To what extent is your course result dependent on how your team members work? Is there an open competition on a series of tasks, or how can you know that "my team performance is lower than every other team"? On previous tasks (if they exist), to what extent was your performance affected by the teammate this question is about, or actually your own work? Jun 13 at 22:52
  • @Lewian I just updated my question, hope it helps you understand more about my situation.
    – huy
    Jun 14 at 2:04
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Assuming this is not a course on management or psychology:

Teaching students how to treat each other politely, or how to manage stress, is not something that students need to do. It is something faculty need to do. Ask your instructor for help. If this is a final year thesis, maybe this student is having a hard time learning those skills.

Do "lead by example" by being patient and calm.

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  • Thank you for your answer. I will do the "lead by example" and ask for help from my thesis supervisor. I think he just needs some time and maybe it just lacks communication because we have to work remotely.
    – huy
    Jun 13 at 11:33
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    "Teaching students how to treat each other politely" should have happened in high school. Unfortunately, often even professionals do not know how to do it. Jun 13 at 11:56
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I should first say that there's quite a bit of speculation in this answer - I don't necessarily believe it is as I say, I rather offer this as a possibility to potentially understand the situation.

"How can I handle this situation? How can I help him stay calm and listen to everyone when working as a team?"

It seems to me that in this setup he doesn't have any incentive to respect you as a leader, at least not when you do something that annoys him. You probably have to accept that. It may be that you have a different interpretation of the "leader" role - you seem to think that some real responsibility and authority comes with it, whereas I suspect he just sees you as an equal who doesn't have any particular right to "lead" him. He may think that there's a "leader" just because there has to be one (somehow maybe enforced by the way this assignment is run in the class), but he wouldn't want to be "led" anyway. Maybe it goes against his pride.

Unfortunately the problem is that it seems that in this setup you don't have any particular power. You can only "rule" as far as the others are fine with your rule, but if this person disagrees with your authority, you have no way to enforce it. I'm assuming that you are "leader" only for the limited time of this assignment, and there is no need in the long run for him to respect you as authority. "Help him to stay calm" - I'm afraid that this cannot be your job realistically, as long as he doesn't want it to be your job.

Ultimately I agree that asking the instructor for help is pretty much the only thing you can do; otherwise you maybe need to accept that being "group leader" really doesn't mean that much here, and you will have to live with his way of working and communication for the time being. (Hopefully you are not constrained to have him in your group for a long period and several tasks.)

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  • I agree with your perspective about the power of my leader role here. But I just feel a little bit disappointed when there has to be a power for someone to respect me as a leader for this kind of project. I think respect is a standard behavior when collaborating with others.
    – huy
    Jun 15 at 1:20
  • My answer is not meant as some kind of moral evaluation. This is how I see it; I have nothing to say about whether this is "disappointing", "OK", "standard" or whatever. Jun 15 at 8:56

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