When dealing with a group of individuals, one of the challenging tasks is to know when to see the individual and when to see the group.
A group is different than the sum of its individuals.
Individuals have their own objectives which are independent of the task the group is aiming to achieve. They seek to achieve their objectives by being a member of that group. Consequently, an individual might even be satisfying their own objective independently from the group’s ability to deal with its task.
While leading a team or facilitating a group, the main reference is the group’s task. Organization, morale, and equipment are the supporting elements allowing the group to achieve the task.
As individual members work towards the task they react to organization, morale, and equipment. It’s the moment in which their individual preferences, assessment, and behaviors show.
Individual objectives are distractions from the group work. At the same time, individual appreciation can be valuable information. It may help to assess if organization, morale, and equipment work well for the team.
The difficult work thus is to regularly shift perspectives. Is the request one where the individual asks for support to be able to contribute to the groups work? Or is the individual seeking support for his own goal?
By analyzing request from both perspectives we gain a better understanding of how equipment, morale, and organization will be impacted. We’ll be able to see if it contributes to the groups work.