Group Dynamics

Are you adept at group dynamics? Groups exist in most areas of our lives from family to workplace teams to community organizations. When you have groups, you have all kinds of personalities interacting with each other. Some of those personalities will get along well with yours, and others won’t. So how can you be in a group and retain your peace and happiness?

First, let us say that all groups are not meant for you. You may find that you had a certain perception of how a group would operate only to have that idea dismantled after participating in it. The other truth about groups is that they are constantly changing. Leadership changes. The people in the group change. So while the group may have been a good fit for you at one point, you may have outgrown it or it no longer resonates.

Family is the first group you learn to navigate. Families come in all shapes and sizes, and how you learned to interact with this primary group impacts what you attempt as you grow up. The structure and rules of this initial family may look completely different than the next group you participate in such as sports teams and peer groups. You then have to learn a different set of rules of engagement. Sometimes this goes well, and sometimes it doesn’t. You may have found yourself hurt or wounded in some of these dynamics or perhaps not reading the social cues correctly. This leads people to feel like outliers.

In team dynamics in the workplace, boards and associations, and community organizations, we often discuss the stages of development that teams go through. These stages include forming, storming, norming and performing. The first two stages are difficult, but often if you can hang in there through the rough patches, you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you reach norming and performing. Even with very different personalities and perspectives, groups can find themselves working well together after some time. Some key components of getting to these stages without too much damage includes effective communication, good leadership, and empathy and understanding of differences.