Teamwork: Group Dynamics
*Group dynamics in psychology is a study of how people interact in a team.
Having a common goal can lead to the establishment of a strong bond between a group of people. Teamwork can be uneasy at times and it is reasonable to assume that many of us had difficulties and gaps in communication with fellow team members.
Myriad of elements makes up the topic of working in a team. This entry will explore potential shortfalls of group work that can cause the disruption of team dynamics and major strategies to tackle the obstacles.
What disrupts group dynamics?
- Weak leadership. The side effects of poor leadership include blocked creativity, lack of motivation, inability to complete tasks, conflicts between team members and many other stumbling blocks. The art of leadership requires practice and knowledge. As a team member and as a leader, it is crucial to recognise the importance of reliable guidance and work towards its realisation.
- Social loafing. This psychological phenomenon is associated with the behaviour of individuals who tend to put less effort when working with the team. This gap disrupts the dynamics of the team. People who tend to fall into social loafing show better results when they work alone and should be assigned tasks that they can complete on their own.
- Group decision making (groupthink). Groupthink is dangerous when team members try to reach a consensus instead of reaching the ultimate proper solution. This occurrence is misleading and should be recognised by the leader.
- Obstructing ideas is highly demotivating to any group member. To maintain group dynamics, it is fundamental to keep the stream of ideas flowing.
- Unrecognised personal effort. Another symptom of demotivation could be an unrecognised personal effort. The dynamicity of the group must be sustained by positive and constructive relationships between group members that value each other’s time and energy. In contrast to other elements of this list, the unrecognized personal effort is closely linked to personal expectations and situation. Therefore, to benefit from teamwork, one must learn how to work in a team with oneself.
- Bad attitude. This is a common disruption of the status quo and it is unavoidable. Rather than keeping at arm’s length team members with the bad attitude, it would be more efficient to cultivate patience and learn something from working with them. If bad attitude and disrespect from other team members make people in the group feel unsafe or uncomfortable, it is always a good idea to inform the objective party.
- Define responsibilities. Each participant of the group must be aware of his/her responsibilities within the group standards. Although it might sound like common sense, group members might skip the step of clearly dividing responsibilities between each other.
- Know your group. Becoming acquainted with everyone from your team will always be a plus. It will be more convenient to spread tasks and establish clear goals.
- Use communication. Teamwork is a great opportunity to open up and search for efficient and creative ways to work with people. Be patient.
- Educate yourself. Trainings are always an advantage when it comes to working with people. It will be a good idea to attend a training related to teamwork. You can check out Dorea Educational Institute’s training “Team Work as a Means for Enhancing Productivity” dedicated to boosting people’s skills and knowledge of working in a team and making it efficient for every group member.
- Be attentive. Look out for lessons you can learn from the teamwork. The team is a small community, it a microcosm of a society. The insights gained from teamwork can be applied to everyday socially related matters. Learn more about common stages of the team’s lifecycle:
- Forming – the group comes together.
- Storming – the members look for like-minded people. Conflicts might arise.
- Norming – the participants begin acting as a whole and form a common goal.
- Performing – the members contribute to complete the task within given criteria
- Adjourning – the group breaks off and depending on the task, waits for a necessary evaluation.
Working with people requires patience and will. It is a skill you can learn and/or enhance. Teamwork can always teach you something new about yourself if you treat it as an opportunity for new insights and experience.
Prepared by Veronika Zhigailova