I recently led a drumming circle that was very rejuvenating. We enjoyed listening to and feeling the pulses, rhythms, and vibrations of the drums. Our drumming was in synch with each other and I could feel the power and pulse of the group beat. It was almost hypnotic at times.
Then as one person changed the rhythm team harmony, the beat shifted and the vibration was out of balance until we all adjusted to the new rhythm. We listened to each other’s beats and had to respond accordingly to reconnect the rhythms. I was aware of the times of concordance and times of discordance.
Teamwork as a Drum Circle
I got to thinking about how that is true for teams as well. Sometimes you move to the same beat and feel in synch with what others are doing. Sometimes you move at different paces and there is discord. If the team has worked together for a while, they usually know the rhythm of the office. If the team works together well, they know when and how to get back into balance if one or several of the members are out of balance. Some teams never quite gel and they stay in discord most of the time.
I think drumming and rhythms are a good metaphor for what happens with teams. A formal or informal leader sets the rhythm for the team. Others respond to that beat. Sometimes that rhythm changes due to different players changing the beat or other ‘instruments’ affecting the beat. It takes awareness for team members to listen to one another, find the rhythm that comes from the collective effort, and adjust accordingly.
Gauge your Team Harmony
Leaders and managers would do well to stop, listen, and pay attention to the rhythm of the beat at their offices. You can learn about the rhythm of your team by paying attention to these items:
- How are the vibrations and pulses of your team members matching up?
- What brings about times of harmony and balance?
- What creates times of discord or imbalance?
- What kind of tune-up does your group need to get in sync with each other?
- Who’s listening to the beat and who’s off playing their own rhythm?
I got to thinking that doing a drum circle at work would be a good team exercise. It would be a way to demonstrate how people play together, listen to each other, or not. Who leads, who’s willing to change the beat, who responds to the new rhythm? It would be a different type of team-building exercise, one that could glean some interesting insights for your group.
For more resources, see our Library topic Spirituality in the Workplace.
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