What does group work mean to you ?

Have you ever been placed in a group full of people that you barely know, whether at work, campus or a workshop with the intention of successfully competing a given task or challenge ? How did you fare, did you succeed, did you blow a fuse ? Well here’s my experience !

Hey guys, it’s Aavi again, and I’m here to share some of my experiences from today. As you may have guessed, I took part in some kind of group activity, and due to my inflated ego, felt the massive need to share.

So, a group of people attended a seminar today, with the aim of improving themselves within a work environment. The objectives were to use the teachings and techniques that were discussed in the seminar to demonstrate how to handle different situations. We were to present this as a group in the form of a speech, presentation, role play or any other creative means. We were placed into random groups with people we had never met before.

Now here’s where things got interesting…The group that I was placed in was made up of people who were almost twice my age, with only 1 individual present in the group who was slightly older than me. Our  group was the smallest, and also did not have a guide official like the other groups to help guide us in the right direction. We had 30 minutes to come up with a solution to our scenario, so what do you think happened ?………..

I came up with this quote a few years back, “I shy away from the spotlight, but live in the limelight”, it’s littered with alliteration, ain’t it ?

For the first 20 minutes, I said absolutely nothing. There were 3 middle aged women, one middle aged man and a young adult in his late 20’s in our group. The first lady constantly repeated the question based scenario, continually hinted that she wanted to be the center of attention but simultaneously contributed nothing relevant and focused on completely irrelevant things. The second lady repeatedly questioned  her role in the role play. And the third lady who was to be the narrator, just stared blankly waiting for someone to do everything for her. The late 20’s adult just looked from member to member with a somewhat puzzled expression on his face. I didn’t blame him though, he had other commitments so he had missed most of the seminar….which was just the same as me.

I looked around and realized a lot of the other groups were wrapping up. We had 10 minutes left. Here’s the thing, I’ve rarely failed at stuff, I may have done poorly, but have never outright failed. I wasn’t about to start now. It was time to take action.

There have been quite a few times in my life, where I’m in a stressful situation that requires an intellectual solution. My brain goes into this hyper drive mindset. Whilst my mind is racing with ideas, piecing together information at a rapid pace, my exterior self on the other hand is calm and collected. It felt like the “Amp it up scenes” from the “Action man” series”. Everything feels slow motion relative to your mind’s speed.

And then I spoke at an increased pace that was clear and simple. I listed the scenarios in order, determined the flow and structure, delegated roles to each person in the group, provided the framework for the impromptu dialogue for each group member, helped the narrator come up with her part, speed read over the seminar’s points for the first time and incorporating them into the play. And during this time, I was simultaneously adding humour to a dialogue I hadn’t even finalized yet. All this within 10 minutes, without messing up the group dynamic or team spirit. And then time was up all too soon.

There were 4 groups that presented before us. The first group was okay but seemed a little disorientated. Their presentation started out as a sketch but quickly turned into a speech delivered by only 2 of their members. The next 2 groups performed sketches. The 2nd group, I don’t really remember much about. The 3rd group focused a lot on the comedy aspect and was funny. However, the humour didn’t seem to tie up with the topic just like the rest of the sketch. The 4th presentation was definitely the most boring. It was a speech delivered by this executive, I didn’t even see the rest of his group members. I briefly remember something mentioned about “waste reduction” and other ambiguous terms, but that’s it. And then it was time for us.

How did our group perform ? The best ? Well, that could be possible. Were we good ? Damn straight!, we definitely were good.

I introduced our group, I was a little nervous, that and my quiet nature deceived the audience for my part to come. And then the 20 year old started. He tried winning some laughs with relevant issues such as false allegations of trending health issues. He received a few laughs, but not many.

Then I stepped in, and apparently, “I killed it” to quote the audience. My humour was on point, my dialogue flowed and my performance felt natural. Admittedly though it wasn’t a perfect performance on my part, because I couldn’t help but laugh at the audience’s outburst of laughter to my jokes. (It was a laughter of relief in case you’re wondering)

The rest of the play went smoothly enough. I deliberately paired up  the middle aged man with me, he grabbed the microphone from me at every opportunity. I think he was excited to be on stage, so he wanted his moment. I didn’t really mind, also I was able to adapt to his dialogue with no pause so no issues there. The 2nd middle aged lady who wanted to shine, got her chance. She had the most  dialogue which was as per her preference. The narrator messed up at the end. I don’t think she was following the play, she was the only person in our group reading from a piece of paper.

But other than that, it was an excellent performance. The sketch flowed, the humour was relevant and tactful and we stayed true to the topic, with a small summary at the end.

The last group presented after us. This group was comprised of individuals all in their 20’s. To their credit, they never once broke character. However, the “lead girl” seemed to be trying a little too hard. Her acting was a little too dramatic and her humour was too forced. The audience seemed to be awaiting an opportunity to laugh, there was this constant buzz. And laugh they did in the second half, although it was short lived. This group actually had a written dialogue with enough time to spare to practice.

There were no winners with regards to this seminar task, but it was apparently clear as to which individuals and groups shone in comparison to each other based on the judge and the audience. But apart from the day’s activities, I want to highlight some things.

I’ve been told I’m a great leader by my fellow peers, consistently producing excellent results with an ability to play to people’s strengths and cover their weaknesses. I however don’t enjoy the role or responsibility that comes with being a leader, so I don’t take on the role unless necessary or forced into it.

But my feelings towards teamwork, I’ve wondered about this often. I’ve always had to answer this at job interviews, I’m sure we all have. I usually prefer working alone. If I need the assistance of another function or colleague, I’d rather learn how to do what they can rather than depend on them. I have been let down in the past, hence my thought process. I know this is not always possible, but to me it’s preferable.

And after reflecting on the matter, I realized that I’m open to working with a lot of people. People who are slow or incompetent or scared or lazy or smart or hardworking. I can do all this as evidenced by my endless campus group projects and work related projects. However, I have concluded that I do not enjoy working with people who are hard headed and refuse to listen. I’m sure we’ve come across these individuals who insist that it’s their way or no way, which does not make sense in group work.

And in a way, that’s why despite some of my team members being slow or unhelpful, I really didn’t mind working with them, because at the end of the day, they did function as a team listening to one and another. So I guess I like teamwork, as long as it’s without wall headed stubborn individuals.

So, that’s it for today, have fun my young Uchiha’s.


Jai Sri Krishna

Image result for krishna blowing the conch





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