Working together as a team can be hard, but it’s necessary


Madison Gomez, Copy-Edit Chief

Throughout my education, I’ve always dreaded group projects. I refused to join any groups, activities or clubs that required effort outside of school because I was not a people person. Joining color guard, I’ve gone through some rough patches with effort and connections with my peers, but ultimately those times pass, and behind the curtain comes the psychology as to why these groups work better together than trying to work by myself.

Seeing how far I’ve come since I’ve joined these activities, the effort that comes like a slip n’ slide seems worth it. It’s what life’s going to be like. You’re always working with or for someone, as a group or as an individual, but these social skills, tolerating and being understanding of one and other, are better to learn how to utilize earlier in life. Also, there’s not just random reasons as to why a group does or doesn’t succeed, there’s science behind it, and when applied can help in the future on knowing what group you may be getting yourself into.

Donelson Forsyth from the University of Richmond wrote on Noba, “Just as each of us influences the group and the people in the group, so, too, do groups change each one of us.” The group changes each member as much as the member contributes to the group, so the group could be positively or negatively affecting each member, depending on the overall behavior of the group.

“Joining groups satisfies our need to belong, gain information and understanding through social comparison, define our sense of self and social identity and achieve goals that might elude us if we worked alone,” Forsyth wrote. Fulfilling the need to belong and providing motivation to the said person because of how groups function prove beneficiary .

Now, to apply that to my life, I have been in color guard for three years, and going into the fall season we had a change of coaches. Our atmosphere and attitude towards the new coach was negative and made some people want to quit numerous times. Moving into the winter season, we had issues overall and having only the pep rally to perform at, all the tragedy and negativity that has passed is going to be laid to rest for me.

The situation that we were in, and some team sports are in, is called a divisible task. This is when each member contributes their best quality at the same time to make the whole group better, according to Dr. Charles Stangor on BC Open Textbooks. A similar situation is an additive task, where each member contributes, but the performance of the group depends on a member’s contribution. A unitary task shows that everyone needs to work together at one thing to accomplish it, like lifting something heavy. While a compensatory, or averaging, task like deciding what place to eat at the performance of the individual is averaged rather than added. When a group’s performance is determined by a high individual it is called a disjunctive task, and this task is the performance determined by the individual who performs most poorly.

These show that each group that a member can walk into can differ but the end goal is the performance and for color guard, our additive task was difficult.  

It gets hard to work together or to be able to understand each other when tensions are high because of one minor situation or another, but we made it through the season. We put our differences aside and focused on making ourselves better individually instead of the whole group. We changed the dynamic and attitude towards performances and practices, making the activity still enjoyable.

There’s a reason why a group’s behavior does or doesn’t succeed, but don’t let it bog you down in joining or continuing an activity. They’re worth fighting for. Take issues with a light heart and push through those hard times, because these groups are worth fighting for, they help your health, keep your mind off of normal life and develop your character because they influence you as much as you influence them.