There is No Room for Pride on a Team

I'm proud of the work I do every day, both in my classroom and in the small instructional team I work with. There's nothing wrong with being proud of work, but there's a world of hurt if pride creeps its way into your team dynamic.

Being prideful serves only one person - you. It will alienate you from relationships, especially when there is shared work to finish. Revision is consistent and this is where, in my experience, pride often comes to a head.

Consider this situation: You and a team are working on a shared document. Your role, just because of time, has turned into synthesizing the bulk of the notes and outlines into the narrative of the piece. You write and re-write multiple times until you're happy with the finished product. You're proud of the work and you send it off for approval.

Your team leader comes and reads and makes a number of changes to the document. This is the telling moment: do you discuss and work with their perspective? Or do you let pride well up in your throat and you choke back frustration?

If you choose the latter, from now on, you're going to carry that hurt. Any work environment, especially a collaborative setting, has to allow for safe and constructive feedback. Changes to a final product improve the performance of the team and not any one team member. Pride tells you to push for your own recognition. Humility tells you to work for the good of others. Powerful, effective teams work for the benefit of their members.

Building this culture in the classroom takes a long time and it takes the guidance of an experienced teacher. These are not normal behaviors for adults, let alone students. This is one argument against assigning random or variable groups in class. Building a cohesive, service-based culture with peers requires consistency. On the other hand, if every student can develop this mindset, then the specifics of a group become less of an issue as each individual is already committed to working for the good of the whole.


Featured image by Daria Nepriakhina used under a CC0 licence from unsplash.com.

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