The Reoccuring Importance of Trust in Groups

As I continue to read and reveal the complexities of paradoxes that exist in groups, I am discovering just how important trust can truly be in the success of a group. In chapter 6 of our text, Paradoxes of Group Life, the concept of and paradox surrounding trust in terms of becoming part of a group was discussed. But as I now conclude my readings of chapter 7 on a different set of paradoxes, speaking, I am uncovering trust’s involvement as the group begins to move forward and act as well. As the group authorizes or grants influence to an individual, they must place their trust in that individual and their ability to lead and empower others. When considering group dependency, we find ourselves deciding whether or not we can trust the members of our group before we can strike out on our own to stand against the group and perhaps their current position. And if we do not feel that trust, we could be in danger of entering yet another paradox, the one of Abilene (perhaps?). For the paradox of creativity, consider the account of Glidewell and his student found on page 144. In order for the student to receive criticism on her efforts at creativity, efforts that she held so near and dear, did she not first have to trust her professor and his judgement of her attempts?

One may argue that, in considering the paradoxes of courage, that this is the true connection in all described thus far as opposed to trust. For it is indeed courage that allows us to take the leap of faith necessary for each level of growth an individual must endure in a group. I however still may argue that without trust, whether trust in our own abilities or convictions or trust in the members of the group as a whole, would members have the courage to step outside of their comfort zones so often? Perhaps I am way off base here, admittedly this text at times for me requires a second read in order to wrap my head around it. But if I am considering the meanings correctly, the importance of trust can truly bring you back to the need for proper group establishment in the very beginning. For without the proper beginning, can a group truly learn to trust each other so that they can be as effective as these paradoxes have taught us that they should/could be?


About hdjackson

Graduate Student at Virginia Commonwealth University studying the theoretical world of Adult Learning along with its relation to Human Resources Developement. View all posts by hdjackson

One response to “The Reoccuring Importance of Trust in Groups

  • April

    Hi Holly!
    I think if a group gets off on the wrong foot, it can take a while to build trust, but it still can be done. In our scenario in class, I don’t think we have the time to recreate the proper footing, so yeah, if the foundation isn’t laid appropriately, trust may not be built in the time of the class. I think that applies to what you’re saying…maybe!

    Do you have any anecdotes about the issues of trust in your group or in your life? Has there been a time that a lack of trust has create an Abilene paradox for you?

    I really can’t wait until our blog posts are focused more on the other texts!!!

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