The term “group dynamics” has been around since the 1940s. The buzz all started when it was realized that a team with good dynamics accomplishes so much more. The idea is to get group members to trust one another, be involved in collective decision-making, and be accountable to one another.
Good group dynamics starts with understanding that each member of the team takes on a specific behavioral role according to their strengths and personality. Those who have complementary roles and personalities work well together and have good group dynamics. Here are some of the ways to improve group dynamics when working in the office.
Know who you’re working with
There are several fancy tools such as personality typing and Benne and Sheats’ Group Roles that can identify what kind of part a particular group member can play. According to these features, it is important to have a leader in the group who knows each of the members of the group and how they work. It’s also important to understand that a group goes through development phases so that you can identify which phase the group is at and work accordingly.
Iron out the creases
There are some things that can disrupt group dynamics and lead to poorer function. This includes features like weak leadership, excessive defensiveness, or certain negative roles. It’s important that as a leader you are able to balance standing your ground and being able to compromise when the need arises. It is equally important to identify members of the group that are inappropriately outspoken, those who do not participate in discussions, or those that introduce humor at inappropriate times. These characteristics need to be corrected gently in order for the group to move forward.
Make sure everybody understands their part
Not only is it important for the leader to understand the individual roles and responsibilities of each group member but for the group to understand them as well. A necessary skill in creating good group dynamics is to physically write out the roles of each member in an understandable way, and even for each person to describe their role back to you as the leader so that you know they understand.
Communication, communication, communication
Good communication includes ideas that are clear and non-aggressive. Make sure to share emails, minutes of meetings, and shared documents with all members of the group so that no one is left out of the communication circle. It’s also important to let group members know of any changes as soon as possible so that there is time for feedback or questions.
Remember you’re working with people
Getting to know people on a personal level builds trust and empathy. If members of the group relate better to each other, they tend to work better together. Sharing personal stories is a great way to break down barriers and prejudices amongst group members. Individuals also have their own ideas, expectations, and concerns, and it is vital to understand these from each member to avoid any conflict on a personal level.
Remember that it is easy for people to become demotivated if they feel that their tasks don’t have any purpose. Celebrate successes with your group to keep morale high and encourage productivity. Success is a common concept that everyone can relate to and it reminds everyone why you started this project in the first place.