People can be so frustrating! We’ve all been in a group or team that seems dysfunctional. We’ve had coworkers who are obnoxious, friends who don’t keep our secrets or family members who won’t mind their own business. Relationships with other people are often down right tricky! Working with others can be so frustrating…so unenjoyable…and for a wide variety of reasons. So what is so great about working in groups? And when it comes to our own personal work for development and growth, why should we involve other people?
There are a lot of reasons groups go wrong. Maybe the mix of personalities doesn’t work well or the tasks weren’t evenly distributed at the start. A group can get in a rut and experience groupthink when it is hard to come up with new ideas, or go against the group consensus. Social loafing – when someone in a group doesn’t carry their weight – is an all too common experience. Just ask a current high schooler!
So clearly sometimes it is just better to go the path alone. But as tough as some relationships are in life, partnership with others and a sense of teamwork are commonly a powerful way to move through life. I’ve learned that this is especially true when it comes to personal growth and going after our goals.
So why involve others in your efforts towards personal leadership and growth?
What’s so great about working in groups? Why should we involve other people in our personal work?
While sharing my personal goals with other people is definitely challenging at times, I frequently benefit from these experiences! I see four consistent and helpful results whenever I engage other people in my goals and personal growth:
- Increased brainstorming with more ideas.
- A safe place for feedback.
- Accountability to follow through.
- Encouragement when the road gets rough.
These four fantastic dynamics have developed time and time again in my groups. These outcomes are beautiful and wonderful! Any group can develop these four results with a little intentionality, trust and time.
A closer look at the benefits of opening up to a group
- More Ideas: Powerful brainstorming is a very common benefit of group work. Each person brings a unique perspective and history. This uniqueness creates a broader set of ideas during effective brainstorming sessions. Other people think of things I don’t. If I remain open to their ideas I can walk away from a group conversation with some really fantastic next steps or insight into my situation. Multiple brains are definitely better than one when it comes to brainstorming!
When was the last time you experienced the creative power of group brainstorming? What was the result and impact for you personally?
- Helpful Feedback: Not only can groups help you come up with more ideas, they can also be a safe place to seek feedback for your ideas. Once a group develops a shared sense of teamwork, members become a trusted sounding board for each other. It can certainly be scary to share a new idea in the group, especially the first time. Yet I’ve seen that this type of vulnerability can really pay off! The various perspectives inside a group can strengthen and develop a beginning idea. The questions group members ask to understand your situation can really open you up to new ways of understanding the situation yourself. This type of dialogue is so powerful!
Are you currently part of a group (of any size) in which you feel safe to share your ideas? If not, where are some possible places (or people) you could look to establish this type of group for yourself?
- Accountability: Strong groups naturally create a sense of accountability that goes beyond telling just one person about your goal. Once you’ve shared the idea to the group, they all know your intentions and hopes. Accountability is a powerful motivator! It is what gets people to the gym after a long day of work. Accountability holds people to their promises. It helps people follow through and not give up. Sharing a goal with a group is one of the best ways to help you see results because you are now socially responsible for your words.
How could you benefit from a little accountability right now? What might you do this week if you knew other people were to ask you about your progress next week?
- Encouragement: We all need encouragement when life gets tough. A group feels more like a team when members start to carry each other’s burdens and show concern for each other. Encouragement to carry on can come in so many formats. A quick call or email shows support. Attending a special event or asking about how it went afterwards is uplifting. A text from the group letting me know they are thinking about me is always re-energizing. Feeling the support of a group is a powerful dynamic that I’ve seen time and time again in my coaching work. When you are just about to give up, encouragement from your group does wonders!
What is one of your favorite ways to show support for others? What can other people do to support your right now?
Getting these benefits for yourself
There are so many groups in this world! I hope you have an opportunity soon to experience what I’ve outlined here, what’s great about working in groups. If you are in search for a new group, look around town and online. I trust you will find one soon. Cities, libraries, schools, nonprofit organizations, churches, museums, sports arenas, restaurants and gyms all create and support groups of many kinds. Want to start one of your own? Awesome! Go for it!
Want to read up more on this topic? Check out The Psychology of Teamwork: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teams.
Curious about how I create these benefits in my groups? Join me for one of my upcoming group coaching events (organized through meetup.com) or sign up for my next group retreat, Spread Your Wings 2019, this coming January 11-13, 2019.