"You have to get along with people, but you also have to recognize that the strength of a team is different people, with different perspectives and different personalities."- Steve Case
Grouping children or adults with different backgrounds, personalities and strengths to work together can be quite difficult, but it's a challenge I personally embrace for two main reasons. First, I think it would be quite boring if everyone had the same opinions, beliefs, strengths and second, we all bring different talents to the table and where one person lacks, another can flourish making your team stronger.
When working with children specifically, it can be difficult for them to understand why someone might do something differently than the way they were taught, or why their friend has natural flexibly while they stretch every day and can barely touch their toes. I think it's so important for children to understand that each person is different, learn how to communicate with each other and even accept that not everyone is going to agree with them and that's OKAY.
The earlier a child can learn how to work on a team, AS a great team member, the more successful they will be in their adult life..whether it be in a dance company, career, or as a leader. Everyone should know how to work as a team.
In my classes, i'm constantly reminding my students not to compare themselves to others and not to worry what someone is saying. Worrying about either isn't going to help you grow as a person or a dancer. In regards to dance, your naturally flexible friend may not have the balance that you do to complete multiple pirouettes. Each routine is like a puzzle, we need many different pieces to put together. All of the pieces are different but the puzzle cannot be put together without each one and the same goes for personalities. Rather than wonder why someone isn't doing something the same way as you or think the same as you, accept their difference and even try to see their perspective and learn from someone else's differences. It's never okay to intentionally hurt someone's feelings or be a bully but you certainly don't need to be best friends with everyone either...in fact, I would say if you are, you are not being true to yourself, your morals and beliefs. Working as a team doesn't mean you will like everyone. It just means for your organization to achieve success, all members must be cordial and complete their tasks despite differences without "drama".
I've added some tips below to help children AND adults be productive team members:
1. Don't compare yourself to someone else- We are ALL different. Focus on your task at hand to be the best you can be and add value to your team.
2. Don't assume- If someone does something that hurts your feelings or differently than you would, talk to them about it in a non-confrontational setting. Ask your teacher or someone you trust to mediate this. Most often, communication can be resolved by going directly to the person you are having trouble with and asking their intention.
3. Always add value and do the right thing- We all know the saying "there is no I in team". Before acting on behalf of your organization, ask yourself if what you are doing is in line with their values and your own moral compass.