When you are running a student group it can become incredibly stressful, especially if you are working on a big event or have a lot of deadlines coming up in your studies. Here are our top tips for a well-run committee:
- Communicate: Respect each other's workload – e.g., upcoming deadlines, part-time work, personal commitments.
- Set Expectations: Have set agreements and deadlines – write them down.
- Delegate: Accept that someone else may not do it the way you would have done it, but you can’t do it all yourself – share out the work.
Here are some common issues that come up within a committee and how you can address it:
Common Issue #1: This person is not pulling their weight in the committee
Have someone on your committee to reach out to this person and find out why they have not been as active as you would like them to be. They may have some personal circumstances which prevent them from being as engaged with their committee work. As a committee ask yourself if the work you need to do is distributed evenly across the committee; are there reasonable deadlines to work towards? It may be that this person who is not contributing has a lot of other priorities: the key is to find out how much they can commit and mutually agree on actions.
If this becomes a persistent problem you may need to sit down with this person and ask them to step down from the committee position, especially if it is a demanding role. You may also want to remove this person from their role; if this is the case contact your relevant staff support.
Common Issue #2: Everyone’s too busy and now I’m stuck with doing all the work
It may be that it is a very busy time of the year, meaning that the rest of the committee can’t give as much time to the Student Group then they would normally. Review what you’ve got going on: you may need to scale your events/activities down to make it more of a manageable workload for yourself and the committee to be able to handle. If it is a busy time of the year, such as deadline week, then it’s also likely that your members will be too busy and will not be able to attend your events.
If the whole committee continues to be non-responsive, call for a committee meeting. Your relevant staff support can also offer a mediation session, where they also attend this committee meeting to help the group to work through any issues.
Common Issue #3: It’s easier if I just do this myself/This person is doing all the work and won’t let us help
It’s quite easy to slip into the mindset of ‘I can do this myself so it’s easier if I just do all the work’, but from that you could unintentionally leave out the rest of your committee. If you are passionate about a certain project or event, communicate with this to the rest of your committee but be open to suggestions. You are representing a whole group so you should share the work out and have a shared common goal.
If you are someone who wants to help but this other person won’t let you, try and frame it so that you are trying to help them ease the workload off them. Even if you have been elected to carry out a certain role, there is no shame in helping one another: each role has their own roles and responsibilities, but the demands of each role varies depending on the time of the year.
Common Issue #4: I’m/members of our group are uncomfortable with some of the decisions that are being made
Make sure that your committee has space for you to discuss any decisions that are made on behalf of the committee – you may not always agree on what happens, but you should be given the space to voice your opinions. All our committees should be democratically elected, and decisions should be transparent.
Challenge others when you can, but if you do not feel comfortable with this, or you feel that you are not being heard, please contact relevant staff support.