Groups form for different reasons; sometimes simply because we don’t want to be alone, sometimes for safety, or it could be a business planning or work group; or groups put together for presentations or any number of reasons.
Groups are easily recognized in high school. I remember the "smart people group" in high school annoyed me to no end when I had to work to get a good grade. I wasn’t a stupid student and certainly wasn’t at the bottom of my class, but I had to study most subjects with earnest to get the grade I desired.
In my ninth grade Geography class there was a boy who always seemed to beat me on a test. As the year progressed, it became a standing competition (albeit friendly) between he and I on who got the better score. For him, however, in my view, it seemed I worked much harder than he did to acquire the same grade.
What makes one student “smarter” than another? In college, I did really well in most of my classes, but I felt I was at an advantage in subjects like English, Literature, Communication or subjects requiring writing, given my interest in writing. Additionally, as an older student, and having “life experiences” I felt confident of my skills.
However, those classes requiring math, I struggled and fought “tooth and nail” to get through! I didn’t have the necessary math background from my high school days to get through it easily, even with constant, diligent studying. This left me in a “group” who asked many questions and far from being leader!
What I found interesting, however, was an article that suggested “smart groups of people” are largely comprised of women. I’m not even going to discuss whether the article is correct, but it led me to ask what really constitutes “smart groups.” In college I worked with teams of all females as well as, groups of mixed gender. I wouldn’t designate either group “smarter” than the other. I contend the mixed abilities and personality traits, no matter what the group, give it its strength.
The person within the group who does not receive an A on every test, perhaps only getting a C in the class, can offer more than the “intelligence” that smart people seem to have. It can be from his perspective someone else can make a dynamic discovery, comment, presentation or any number of things.
My point is being in a smart group isn’t the only way to be successful. It takes determination, clear thinking, thinking out of the box, common sense and perhaps even what some might call “side-ways thinking” to get the most out of a group think tank! The different abilities often have a way of creating cohesion and satisfaction in a group because of the motivation of all the parties, not just some.
Now that said, if motivation isn’t equal among the participants in any group, the results will be less than satisfactory. I had several such occasions in college. There was one young woman with whom I shared several classes. It seemed we were “paired” more times than I care to admit! She was highly intelligent, but she and I had strong opposition in some areas, including “the dark side” which she wanted to use for presentations. She seemed to enjoy gloating of her abilities and GPA with students she felt inferior to her. I found her superior attitude and condescending behavior frustrating since it often created some of the other participants in the group to be less than enthusiastic, with her intimidating comments.
So I challenge you to consider all the participants in whatever group you find yourself, whether it be in a business setting, college, church, youth group or any other kind you can think of. Each person is unique and brings irreplaceable and special qualities to the group and strengthens it as a whole, creating the best possible group to be in or work with!