By: Brenda Robinson
Are you a team leader? Do you facilitate meetings or workshops? Do you find yourself in "multi-team" environments - working on a number of different teams with different goals, different mandates and different people? What a challenge this presents in a busy, demanding work environment.
Group dynamics are dynamic! They are ever changing and always interesting and challenging. The combination of strong individuals and group dynamics creates a need for responsive, flexible interaction. Leading, managing, motivating and directing group dynamics require constant skill development, a positive attitude and an element of curiosity and respect for diversity.
What do you need to know about group dynamics? First of all, groups are the combination of individuals. Bringing a group of individuals together takes finesse! The following hints and tips may help support you in managing the group dynamics of your dynamic group!
Hint #1: According to the age-old saying - there is no "I" in "team." Adapt your articulation and your vocabulary to use "we" instead of "I." Generate conversations to emphasize the "we" of group action and interaction.
Hint #2: Work on inclusion by inviting participation and feedback from each individual of the group. Ask specific, related questions of individuals and listen attentively to their responses. Thank people for their involvement and encourage them to share ideas in an ongoing way.
Hint #3: Give credit where credit is due. Each group member wants to feel recognized for their contribution to the group. Take time to give them credit and let others know that they deserve the recognition.
Hint #4: Celebrate the ongoing progress of the group. Look for benchmarks of success and recognize the achievement of each success. Waiting for final results and/or accomplishments of the entire outcome or goal is not as motivational as celebrating small successes.
Hint #5: When the whole goal is accomplished, have a full group celebration. Invite individuals to share their contributions to the accomplishment. Celebrate together!
Hint #6: When you gather input from the group, be sure to tell them how their input is used. Discuss ways in which the input contributed to the decision or follow up. Even if the application of their input only caused review or reconsideration - let them know that. Nothing breaks a group down faster than to feel that their input was ignored.
Hint #7: Look for opportunities to challenge smaller groups within the whole group to work together on projects or short-term activities. Challenge your group dynamics by allowing opportunities for different people to work more closely together on different tasks. This will enhance the respect and appreciation that individuals have for each other.
Hint #8: Change the physical logistics of group interaction to change the dynamics. Encourage people to sit in different places during meetings. Move desks to change and challenge views and interactions. Changing perspectives and points of view can be physical as well as intellectual and motivational.
Hint #9: Encourage cross training and coverage by having people share job knowledge to ensure the ability of the group to continue to function even when one or more group members are not there. Group success is tied to training each other and learning from each other.
Hint #10: Rotate some of the group responsibilities to build an environment of respect. For example, use a "rotating chair" to allow all members of the group the opportunity to play a leadership role.
Hint #11: Provide individual and the whole group with regular, updated positive encouraging feedback. Impact the group dynamics positively by making positive feedback the rule rather than the exception. Abandon the old approach of "no news is good news." No new is just no news - it does nothing to enhance the dynamics of any group.
Hint #12: Take time to socialize with group members. Remember that "belongingness" is one of the human needs that brings people to work and to work groups. Have a coffee with the group during their coffee break. Demonstrate interest in the people and their personal lives. Share in potluck lunches and group activities. Meet and greet - welcome interaction and build relationships.
Hint #13: Build group dynamics with laughter, humour and lightness. Share in the laughter and joy of working together. Laughter can be a bond to strengthen group dynamics.
Hint #14: Contribute to the group dynamics by being a positive member of every group you are a part of.
These hints and tips will help you achieve synergy through the work of groups and teams. Be dynamic and contribute to the group dynamics.