Updated April 15, 2023
Improve Group Dynamics
Whenever three or more people converse on a common topic of interest, we can see group dynamics at play. Kurt Lewin coined the term “Group Dynamics” in 1940. Kurt was a social psychologist and a change management expert who described the effect of the behavior pattern on a group. Many recent studies on Group dynamics are based on his ideas which have also become key in generating best management practices.
Group dynamics can be observed in various settings, such as business meetings, volunteer organizations, children chatting in classrooms, and social gatherings. In any group setting, a person takes the lead in conversation and offers their thoughts, while others are often seen as mute spectators; while one would like to have a conversation faster, others would try to change the track. As there are different people, different minds are working, and so are different behavior and attitude, this creates hindrances in meeting a goal and arriving at a conclusion. On many occasions, meetings may simply go out of hand. It is not new if people assume these meetings are a failure or have been a waste of time.
However, in any corporate setup, management has to see group interactions and meetings improve, and there are ways for this. Principally changes occur in the team in how the members interact and relate with each other towards their organization and management.
A good team shows the following traits:
- They orient themselves towards the goal.
- Share common objectives.
- Feel a sense of belonging towards the group or a section.
- Cherish versatility and diversity.
- Motivated to be creative and show an inclination towards taking risks.
The team’s anticipated growth keeps the group sustained and moving. Any group passes through the different development stages, which are:
- Forming: It is an initial stage of the development process where each member has ideas to achieve the group’s purpose. People ought to be very careful about what they talk about and how the way they take their conversation. Each of them displays their behavior and shares their own ideas. The group should value each member’s suggestion and formulate a combined goal.
- Storming: It is an arguing stage that happens when the team defines its prescribed task. The team tends to the generation what is known as dyads and triads when members would look out for people who are similar in nature and are familiar with their own individualistic goals. They all tend to share their goals more deeply with each other. The regular attention of the subgroup can result in tensions and differences in the group, but pairing can ease the situation and resolve the problems.
- Norming: The group decides on activities that help its members reach a consensus, which requires negotiations. Individual members generally think what they are saying and talking about is correct, but they might be wrong, or their ideas might not meet the group’s objectives. Still, by listening to other viewpoints or understanding other person thoughts, they can develop the inclination in them to think in a different way. Explaining or understanding the reason or cause of something can allow someone to see or perceive it differently.
- Performing: It is a stage of the final performance of a group. When group members reach a consensus, they become committed to serving the task and also listening to diverse ideas. Each person contributes in his or her way. The group carries out its norms excessively well and exerts collective pressure to ensure its effectiveness.
- Adjourning: If temporary groups are developed for a specific task, they go through a process known as adjournment. This means that once the project is over, the group is disbanded, and many emotions may arise within the group.
Help the Team To Get Acquaint With Each Other
Since we are all related to each other, it is sensible and courteous to make sure that we get acquainted and introduced to each other. In the meetings, newcomers feel exclusive as the old and senior executives make no room for the new aspirants to speak as they themselves are always deeply engrossed with each other.
Here, a manager or team leader should intervene, help newcomers feel at ease, and motivate them to speak first and share their thoughts. Some groups also incorporate activities called Ice Breakers or “Get Acquainted Activities.”. These are simple games that enthuse people to start interacting. This step can prove to be a valuable investment as members then understand each other behavior and how each one of them reacts to a particular situation or an idea.
Each member carries their assumptions or expectations of the meetings. It is often very little talked about idea on how things should be or how people behave and react. The members can experience a situation where their expectations of the group dynamics activities and goals differ from what they encounter, making it challenging for them to react positively and appropriately to the real situation. It is best to give a few moments to clear the member’s doubts and make them acquainted with the main theme of the meeting for a discussion. They would then realize whether their expectations are conjuring with the group’s goals, and a simple question like “What is an expectation for us today and what we would be accomplishing today can meet the purpose.
Divide the Group into Teams
If the group is large, the leader can divide it into different teams, with each team allotted a prescribed task based on their group dynamics. Each member of a team can work in coordination and cooperation with each other to achieve a common goal.
When performing in a team, they adopt a cooperative, interdependent nature. They are independent yet dependent on each other for achieving the target. This nature helps them get creative and new ideas that might be different from the team but can help produce better results. This helps in determining the performance and actions of all the contributory members.
To enhance teamwork, experts suggest assigning different roles among team leaders and encouraging them to ask open-ended questions. By the end of the meeting, organize the list of who is responsible for the action and what is the due date to work on the next action.
The members in the team interconnect with and positively value each other. These group dynamics teams are either task cohesiveness in nature or social cohesiveness. If a team engages in fun and play during work, they develop a deep bond that results in displaying more liveliness due to a higher degree of social cohesiveness. Task cohesiveness refers to how the team blends its abilities and skills to produce effective results.
Cohesiveness has many positive impacts, including providing satisfaction, low absenteeism, turnover, and productivity; higher cohesive groups may negatively impact organizational performance if their goals are not aligned with those of the organization. They may also be more vulnerable towards groupthink, which happens when any group member tries to pressure the other to come to a consensus. Groupthink occurs due to the people’s carelessness, unrealistic judgments, and lack of realities.
Effective Communication Skills
Having effective communication is not just the right way of talking but about being a great listener, getting and receiving feedback, and adopting the practice in comprehensive verbal messages. A team can ensure its effectiveness by establishing a proper communication network and being aware of who is communicating with whom and who is outside the network. The team should also develop appropriate norms for establishing communications. The group needs to choose and implement standards to guarantee that each member participates actively and to prevent any one or two members from monopolizing the group and its time.
Each member should participate in a team and understand that the team’s mission is very important. The leader should ensure that each member is committed to fulfilling the mission; Commitment only comes when each member feels that his or her contribution is valuable for the group and for their own career growth. Each member should also display a higher degree of loyalty and trustworthiness towards the team, group, leader, organization, and himself. A leader should align each member’s mission with the group’s, even though they have individual tasks and personalities.
The leader should ensure the team member displays competency and skill with the resources and available time and space. As his performance can impact the whole team, he cannot be negligent or unskilled in his task. His slight mistake can hamper the group’s mission.
Generally, people form groups to achieve a social purpose or to accomplish a specific goal and discuss or be involved in a controversial or debatable issue. In this situation, group dynamics are generally stronger, mainly when the group has restricted time and resources. A strong leader is crucial here as he can intervene to neutralize the heated debate. He can offer the solution and then request each person in the group to express his or her views on the said topic but within a prescribed time limit. A leader will then analyze how many are in favor or against his suggestion and make the final decision as per the suggestions of the majority and what is in the organization’s or group’s best interest.
To achieve this:
- A leader should help each member understand the problem, its implications, and what they intend to achieve.
- Each person in the group should understand on how he can contribute to coming up with the solution and resolving the problem.
- Every group member should be able to recognize and understand the kind and nature of the contributions others are making.
- Each member should have the capability and willingness to share the information or provide help to contribute.
In short, an ideal team is one that displays unity in distinctiveness. They clarify each other doubts, ask the help from their teammates whenever required, appreciate each other efforts, and provide positive comments to each other. The leader ensures that the conversation stays on track, completes the task on time, and keeps each team member’s motivation level always at its peak.
Nothing can reduce the walls more than laughter, which is the best remedy to ease the tensions and reduce any differences. Between the work and meetings, keep adding jokes and pranks that make the members laugh and feel comfortable. Humor is the best remedy to ease tension and stress. A bit of humor can also bring people much closer. Give or tell something to the group on which they can cheer, whether it is about celebrating a company’s success or the success or achievement of any individual group member.
Group dynamics is all about how members from diverse backgrounds have different mindsets, thoughts, values, and ideologies to achieve a common goal. We build a team, work as a team, and make each member feel like they are needed. And it can be possible by having a great and effective leader who can make the people in a group adopt the values of working in a team and orient their behavior and mission towards the group, mission, and goal, and is not just driven by a small but a picture as a whole. Each team member should be motivated to speak and listen, value others’ ideas and thoughts, and feel important.
Here are some articles that will help you to get more detail about the Group Dynamics for Teams, so just go through the link.