From primary school to university, I’ve always hated group projects. Groups were always delinquent and overly social. The other students just chatted away and didn’t take the project seriously; so I would take over and get it done because my grades were on the line. I spent countless hours making up for what was the group’s responsibilities — not what I’d call fun.
From those few sentences alone, you can probably pinpoint that I’m an Enneagram 3— the Achiever. Characteristics of a 3 include:
the desire to be affirmed and to distinguish themselves from others…Healthy Threes know how good it feels to develop themselves and contribute their abilities to the world, and also enjoy motivating others to greater personal achievements than others thought they were capable of.
An unhealthy three would often take the form of domineering “leadership” and bossing people around “for the sake of the assignment”. Because I felt others were inefficient, I would end up “doing all the work” and feeling overly narcissistic about it. Hopefully, you’ll see my use of [air] quotes does in fact indicate I no longer think nor operate this way; or at least am aware of it.
The altMBA’s first group assignment changed my mind and exposed my pride when I evaluated why it went so well unlike my past experience of group projects. This time, I didn’t feel the need to overshadow others or take control.
The genuine respect I have for my group members made it easy to be a team player.
I didn’t feel like I needed to be the “best contributor” as if everything was a competition. I didn’t need to be outstanding amongst my peers. No particular leader emerged from the group either. It was very much an equal partnership on all sides! We openly discussed how to tackle the project, accepted some ideas, agreed to reject others, and we completed the goal on a united front.
At one point, I made a suggestion. It was discussed and promptly discarded. I felt absolutely confident that we made the right decision. I took no offence and we carried on towards our goal together. My pride wasn’t hurt because I had great trust in my group and genuinely agreed with them.
It’s easy to complete group projects when one takes a perspective of humility.
Because I felt everyone else was smarter than me and that we were approaching the project as equals, it was easier to be unattached to my own ideas. This is the perspective I endeavour to have going into other group settings instead of being a proud individualist. More humility would likely do me well working with other human beings in general, too.