On Teaming Up for Good and for Bad


The notion of “teaming up” has come to mind a few times recently and I have some thoughts to share about teams, what they represent, and when they are not such a good thing.

I love the idea of working as a team to accomplish goals. Whether at work, home, with friends, or in an organized group of some kind, this is the most powerful way to accomplish common goals. I remember being in High School, 10th grade, and I was in a group called Mountain Alliance. We did all kinds of awesome stuff. We went white water canoing, spelunking (caving), rock climbing, camping, hiking, etc. We did a couple of ropes and challenge courses, which were completely built to promote positive teamwork. Even 12 years later, I often recall those experiences fondly. I don’t think I will ever forget those experiences.

So being part of a team can be very positive and very rewarding. Large companies often organize events that will bring co-workers together and present some sort of team building challenge. I have heard about many of these kinds of events and IF the participants are willing, these events tend to really return positive results for all involved. I have been getting more involved with my church and have noticed that RCC is very team oriented. Not only does the team element help get things done more efficiently, but it provides a common ground place that is positive and welcoming.

So teams are good, you get it already right? But not ALL teams are good and I worry that there are people out there that don’t recognize the difference.

If you don’t know me very well, know this, I get along with almost anyone. In high school I didn’t run with any particular “clique”, but I got along with most people and did things with different groups of people. I had skiing friends, mountain biking friends, and random other groups of people that shared common interests. In my life, I have never identified myself with any one group of people. I identify myself with, well, myself. The truth though, is that this kind of identity can be really lonely at times.

Because I had this experience in my youth and I still remain that way, I see groups on the outside and wonder if the colder side of a group identity is intentional. How many times have you felt on the outside of a group because of someones favor towards their “normal” crowd? I have noticed this favor more times than I am able to recall and know that the dynamic within the group that ends up omitting “outsiders” is in no way positive.

The root cause or all of this, in my opinion, is based in the idea that people generally want to be accepted. Even if the acceptance is of inherently negative things, negativity en mass is better than positive singularity in some peoples minds. This method of teaming up in spite of its kind impact is hazardous. In the math world two negatives multiplied is a positive, but in REAL LIFE any negative multiplied results in a negative.

I am always encouraged when I run across groups that are run in a positive way and promote positive impact with no judgment, exclusion, or apathy. Life is hard enough without other people presenting negativity and helping you create your own.

Even a small group of people at work that gossip and talk negatively about others is a huge source of negativity in that environment.

My whole point is this, groups can be a source of very positive influences, but they can also be full of negativity and simply being plugged into that environment can bring you down as well. Keep your eyes, ears, and heart open to your surroundings. You might see a group for what it really is, negative. You might also find one that brings the good stuff to the table and leaves the rest alone. I say put your money on the latter.