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Group Dynamics The Chamber of Secrets. If you want to be an effective leader, you need to take care of your followers. And you need to understand which phases the groups or teams you lead are going through. In this session, you had the chance to experience leadership in unstructured situations. Before teams can perform to the fullest of their potential, they usually go through a get-toknow-each-other phase, they need to define the roles of their members, and they need to set norms to ensure a more productive collaboration. Arne Reis 01.08.2011


Content 1. Principles of Group Dynamics training .......................................................................................... 3  2.  Comparing groups to teams .......................................................................................................... 4  a.  What is a group? ......................................................................................................................... 4  b.  How is a team different? ............................................................................................................ 4  c. 

Do all groups need to become teams? ..................................................................................... 5 

3. Team stages ................................................................................................................................... 6  a.  Forming ....................................................................................................................................... 6  b.  Storming ...................................................................................................................................... 8  c. 

Norming ..................................................................................................................................... 10 

d. Performing ................................................................................................................................ 11  e. 

Mourning ................................................................................................................................... 12 

f.

Summary: strategies for team leaders .................................................................................... 12 

4. Sources ......................................................................................................................................... 15 

Session Responsible: Co-trainers:

aim of this training is: The objectives of The

this training are:

Arne Reis (AEGEE) Mircea Vadan (BEST) Hervé Tunga (BEST) Daniel Rau (EFPSA) Lies Schakelaar (IFMSA) Luka Lačan (EESTEC) Kajsa Olofsson (ESTIEM)

… to make participants experience a truly dynamic group process and emerge from it as more confident and self-aware leaders. … to have a better understanding of the group dynamics process and its different phases.

Handouts LSS 15th‐24th July 2011 

… to have actively applied and honed their personal leadership style in a group setting. … to have given and received peer feedback on their interaction with the group. … to have developed strategies and tools that facilitate effective collaboration and communication in groups.

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Leadership Summer School   2011 Cluj‐Napoca, Romania 


1.

Principles of Group Dynamics training

The Group Dynamics session at Leadership Summer School 2011 bore the name “The Chamber of Secrets” for a reason. While the frame was determined by the trainers, the process and the results were largely in the hands of the participants. The format behind this kind of Group Dynamics training is called “T-Group” and is based on four major principles. 1) Process-orientation The T-Group is not given a concrete task so the members can focus all their attention on the relationships between each other. How do I feel in the group? Who do I feel close to? Do we have a common identity? Who is assuming a leadership role? Who contributes, who stays silent? How do we make decisions? Are we really open with each other? These are just some of the questions the group can analyze. The idea behind this approach is to increase the sensitivity of participants regarding interpersonal processes. These processes happen in every group and every team, but they are usually not addressed, even though dealing with them candidly can significantly increase a group’s productivity. 2) Here and now The T-Group focuses its attention on what is happening in the here and now – on the people who are present in the space and time in which the group is meeting. The reason for this is simple: participants usually don’t know each other’s personal backgrounds in detail, so the effectiveness of talking about people or events that are not directly related to the present situation is very limited. “Flashbacks” to the biographies of the participants are not prohibited, but should be used only if they shed light on someone’s behavior in the present moment. 3) Feedback The things participants discover about themselves in T-Groups can be very surprising. Especially the difference between your self-perception and the way others perceive you can be extremely interesting. The one instrument that helps us best to see and understand these perception gaps is feedback. It is the central and most important tool that makes T-Groups work. There is no “blanket” covering up the interpersonal processes, so each participant is encouraged to give feedback proactively on any behavior shown by other members of the group that has an effect on him or her. Everything can be addressed, but of course, the usual feedback rules stilly apply. The feedback should be concrete, personal, and constructive. If these rules are respected, participants have a much better chance of identifying and reflecting upon behavioral patterns they might want to change or reinforce in the future.

Handouts LSS 15th‐24th July 2011 

4) Minimum structure This format of Group Dynamics training follows the motto, “As little structure as possible, as much as necessary.” The trainers provide structure by allocating certain rooms and times to the sessions, but otherwise follow the process initiated by the participants. Participants should see this as a chance to explore their leadership and collaboration styles in what can be seen as minimal structure.

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2.

Comparing groups to teams

a. What is a group? A group is a collection of people who come together to communicate, tackle a problem, or coordinate an event. They’re a group and not a team because they are missing a number of key ingredients present in any true team. These missing ingredients include: •

A common goal that members view as more important than their individual goals

Clear rules and norms created and used by the team to manage interpersonal relations

Clear roles and responsibilities so that members know they’re linked

Clear accountabilities so that everyone understands who is responsible for what

A method for frequent evaluation of how team members are doing and a method for giving and receiving feedback so that the team can constantly improve

In a group, members pursue their own individual purpose. For this reason, group members tend to exhibit “I”- centered behavior when debating. This generally makes a group more competitive and argumentative than a true team. When each person strives to get what’s best for him or herself, conflict tend to be handled in a more adversarial manner. Another major difference is that group members usually don’t have linked roles and relationships outside the group’s meetings. Members typically have separate job descriptions and only come together to share information and make decisions that affect them all.

b. How is a team different? In contrast to a group, a team is a collection of people who come together to achieve a clear and compelling common goal that they have participated in defining. To the members of a true team, that goal is more important than their own individual pursuits. It’s this factor that gives a team its cohesion. A team also creates a set of norms or rules of conduct that define the team’s culture. While a group may be run by a single person, a team runs itself by rules created by the members. Team members also cooperate on work planning and coordinate roles. Their work lives are linked together and they depend on each other.

Handouts LSS 15th‐24th July 2011 

When team members have differences of opinion they tend to debate the ideas rather than argue points of view. They aren’t out to gain personal victory, but to arrive at the best solution for the good of the whole team. While the members of a group generally have only the level of authority inherent in their position within the organization, teams seek and attain higher levels of empowerment. Drawing on each other to make better decisions, a team often evolves toward greater autonomy in managing its work. There is a definite sequence of stages a team goes through in order to ultimately reach highperformance levels. A group does not tend to follow this pattern. One reason is that team membership is permanent. While a group can operate with members coming and going, the 4

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members of a team need to be more consistent. In fact, if a member leaves a team, it may need to briefly return to the forming stage in order to integrate its new member. Whether teams are created to stay together for a year or indefinitely, they tend to develop more trust and openness than most groups do. Members have bought into the idea of working together and have made a commitment to common action. This helps create the comfort that many people need before they can freely express their ideas and concerns.

Group

Team

Individual “I” focus

Collective “we” focus

Individual purpose

Common goal

Operate by external rules of order

Operate by own set of team norms

Operate alone

Have linked roles and responsibilities

Individuals have position authority

Teams seek and gain empowerment

Meet irregularly

Meet regularly

Focus on information sharing and coordinating

Focus on problem solving and process improvement

Have a fixed leader

Share leadership role

Fight to be right

Debate to make sound decisions

Are closed

Open and trusting

May like each other

Share strong bond

c. Do all groups need to become teams?

Handouts LSS 15th‐24th July 2011 

The simple answer is no. While teams have some distinct advantages over groups, not all groups should be developed into teams. A group should stay a group if: • • • • • • • • •

The members will only be together for a short time It’s only supposed to do one simple task Its purpose is solely to share information Different members come to every meeting There’s no regular or frequent pattern of meetings There’s no real need for linked roles or a compelling common goal All of the work is best planned and managed by isolated individuals There’s no support for teamwork in the organization Leadership styles are controlling and directive

Conversely, it’s clearly advantageous to do teambuilding with any group if: •

There’s a need to create a high level of cohesion and commitment to a common goal 5

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• •

There’s an ongoing task for the group to accomplish A consistent set of people will be working closely over an extended period

Even when a group isn’t destined to become a team, it’s a good idea to take some tips from rudimentary team building, and get members to at least act like a team while they’re working together.

3.

Team stages

If you’re working with a true team you need to realize that teams develop through several stages. Each of these stages has unique characteristics and must be facilitated differently. The following model was developed by American psychologist Bruce Tuckman and is therefore known as “Tuckman’s Stages”.

a. Forming Forming is the first stage of team development. It starts when members are first brought together to achieve a specific goal. In the forming stage members tend to be optimistic and expectations are usually high. At the same time there’s also some understandable anxiety about fitting in and being able to achieve the task. Despite these early anxieties, forming is generally a “honeymoon” for most teams.

Handouts LSS 15th‐24th July 2011 

Members of forming teams are usually shy. They hold back until they know each other better. People are guarded with their comments. No one is sure exactly how well he or she fits into the new team. This stage is also characterized by an overdependence on the leader. Members want to be given a clear mandate, structure and parameters. Forming can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on how often the team meets and how quickly the team completes the “team formation” agenda.

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Your role When leading a new team you need to be especially friendly, open and optimistic to help ease everyone’s anxieties. Here are some things that you can do: •

Make sure there’s clarity about the mandate and parameters for the new team

Help the members collaborate to create a goal that achieves the stated mandate

Break the ice with activities that create comfort and disclosure

Be encouraging and empowering

Help members develop norms or rules of conduct

Identify tasks and specify roles and responsibilities

Provide structure for meetings

Set a tone of openness and trust

Provide training in decision making and effective behaviors

Creating Team Norms A major difference between groups and teams is that teams have clear rules set by the team’s members. These rules are used by the members to control their own and peers’ behaviors. Developing rules is essential at the forming stage. Once they’re in place, the rules are posted, referred to when behaviors become less than desirable and amended as the team matures. Rules are always developed by team members. It only makes sense that rules brought in from the outside without the members’ consent will be largely ineffective. Members will be more likely to follow rules that they’ve created together.

Handouts LSS 15th‐24th July 2011 

Rules will vary somewhat with each team, but these are some of the most common: •

We will listen actively to all ideas

Everyone’s opinion counts

No interrupting while someone is talking

We will be supportive rather than judgmental

Each member will take responsibility for the work of the team

We will give constructive feedback directly and openly

When we have a difference of opinion we’ll debate the facts of the situation and not personalities 7

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We will respect team meetings times by starting on time

b. Storming Storming is a normal and expected stage of team development. In this stage, members experience a discrepancy between their initial hopes for the team and the realities of working together. Conflict arises and everyone knows that the “honeymoon” is over. Storming can take place for a variety of reasons including: Interpersonal conflict: People discover that they like some members but dislike others. Cliques can form. Two people can start to clash over ideas or personal styles. Some people may not be pulling their weight. Others may talk too much or try to dominate. Lack of skills: There may be little listening and encouragement among team members due to lack of training in interpersonal skills. Members may be unfamiliar with managing differences of opinion, so that potential debates end as fights. People often lack skills in fields such as problem analysis, facilitation, or giving and receiving feedback. As a result, they’re basically unable to manage the team dynamics. Ineffective leadership: The team leader may be too controlling while the members are trying to flex their muscles. Conversely, the leader may be too laissez-faire on certain topics. Members may not like how the leader runs the meetings, or offers his or her assistance. Sometimes leaders have low personal credibility, poor interpersonal skills or are dishonest in their dealings with the team. Problems with the task: This task may be too difficult for the team. Work loads may be unrealistic. Members often resist taking on more power and responsibility. The task itself may be unclear or the members may not have bought into the task. During the storming phase it's common for members to feel dissatisfied with their dependence on someone else's authority, most often the team leader's. It's not unusual for members to challenge or even reject the leader at this stage. Power struggles can also take place among members who may be competing for authority. Because interpersonal squabbles and conflict distract the team from focusing on its main tasks, productivity usually plummets during storming. There's a feeling of ineffectiveness, and meetings where little is decided. Frustration increases. With this comes a corresponding decline in morale. People start to wonder if the team is a good idea, since so much time seems to be wasted. When you are leading a team in storming, be careful not to take this personally. Check to see if this is what you're thinking: This is awful. Things are falling apart! They hate me! I hate them! Handouts LSS 15th‐24th July 2011 

I can't trust them! Who do they think they are? I'll fix them! In order to survive storming, you need to adopt a more positive mind-set This includes believing: Storming is OK. It’s a normal stage. 8

Leadership Summer School   2011 Cluj‐Napoca, Romania 

                    


They don't hate me; they're just storming. They don't hate each other; they're just storming. This is energy I've got to channel into solutions. We'll get through this together.

Signs of Storming Use the following checklist to raise your awareness of storming. It can help you determine whether your team is in this sensitive state. •

There's a tendency toward arguing viewpoints instead of debating ideas

People don't listen actively or support each other's ideas

The team is divided into factions

Members vie for power with and against each other

Members confront the leader in an overly emotional way

Meetings go in circles; little is achieved

Members talk about each other outside of meetings

There's a tendency to complain, and "Yeah but" most ideas

People don't like coming to the meetings. The/re often late, absent

No one wants to take responsibility, follow-through is poor

Some people start to "clam up"; they no longer participate

Members go to each other after meetings to air their concerns about the team

The team isn't achieving its work goals

There's no attention to "process" or how the team functions

Interpersonal aspects overshadow getting the job done

People say the team makes them feel drained of energy

People no longer think the team is a good idea

Your role

Handouts LSS 15th‐24th July 2011 

Storming is the most difficult stage to facilitate because feelings are running high. You need to handle the situation carefully in order to remain absolutely neutral, and not take sides in any debates. Storming also demands a high degree of assertiveness on your part. So, how do you cope? •

Expect and accept tension as normal

Stay totally neutral and calm

Create an environment in which people can safely express feelings

Honestly and openly admit that there's conflict

Help members identify issues and solve them together 9

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Invite input and feedback

Make interventions to correct dysfunctional behaviors

Assertively referee heated discussions

Train members in group skills

Facilitate communication

                    

When a team storms there are always two approaches for every situation: BEST ACTIONS

WORST ACTIONS

• Surface all problems to get them • Ignore problems on the table to be solved • Create norms that make it safe to discuss problems. Encourage • Avoid all arguments members to debate ideas in a nonpersonal way • Offer clear options and encourage members to take control

• Take back control

• Help members identify strategies and action plans

• Tell people what to do

• Help members identify their problems and resolve them

• Take a punitive attitude

c. Norming While norming is usually described as a team stage, it's actually a transitional step that moves a team from storming into performing. In norming, the team confronts its problems and resolves them. The resolutions that everyone agrees to become the new norms for the team. During norming, members face their issues, accept feedback and act on it. This results in improvement in the team's performance.

Handouts LSS 15th‐24th July 2011 

There are four main norming techniques you can use: •

Survey Feedback: Hand out the appropriate survey for the problem your group is experiencing: conflict management, team effectiveness, meeting effectiveness. Feed results back to members for their analysis. Help them identify problems and generate solutions.

Force-Field Analysis: Generate a discussion in which members analyze what's working on the team and what's not. Generate solutions for each item identified as not working.

Personal Feedback: Help members give each other personal feedback about what they're doing that is effective and what they could do better

Setting New Norms: Help members review their existing norms and make the additions needed to manage the current conflict situation.

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Leadership Summer School   2011 Cluj‐Napoca, Romania 


Your role If you're leading a group in storming, you need to instigate norming by providing methods for giving and receiving feedback. In norming it's essential that you be totally neutral and focus on managing the process. Key strategies include: •

Encouraging problem identification and problem solving

Inviting input and feedback

Offering training and support to team members

Supporting members while they make improvements

Further sharing of power

Mediating in personality clashes

Coaching and counseling individuals

Encouraging others to take on leadership roles

d. Performing If norming is managed successfully, the team should enter into a period of improved performance. By this stage, conflicts have been resolved and members will be ready to focus on their work without distraction. Everyone wins here. Productivity goes up. So does morale. In highperforming teams: •

Everyone shares power by rotating leadership roles

The official leader is treated as a valued member

Everyone behaves in a supportive way

All members take turns facilitating

The team evaluates and corrects continuously

Members feel committed and bonded

Decisions made are typically high-quality

Time and other resources are used efficiently

Conflicts are seen as constructive debates, rarely getting heated or emotional

All performing teams have:

Handouts LSS 15th‐24th July 2011 

1. A clear team goal that has been created by the team and that dovetails with organizational targets 2. Established ground rules or norms that are adjusted regularly and used to monitor and improve the team 3. Detailed work plans that define tasks, clarify roles and responsibilities, lay out a schedule of events and specify the performance expectations of the team 4. Clearly defined empowerment so that members know which decisions they can make 5. Clear and open communication between members and with people outside the team 11

Leadership Summer School   2011 Cluj‐Napoca, Romania 


6. Well-defined decision-making procedures that help the team know which decision-making approach to use 7. Beneficial team behaviors that reflect good interpersonal skills and positive intent to make the team successful 8. Balanced participation so that everyone is heard and the team's decision making isn't dominated by one or two strong personalities 9. Awareness of group process along with regular initiatives to improve how the team functions 10. Well-planned and executed meetings with detailed agendas

Your role You'll find that the easiest group to lead is a high-performance team whose members have learned to manage their own conflict and who have highly developed interpersonal skills. But that doesn't mean your job's over yet. In these situations you need to: •

Collaborate with members on meeting designs to get their input

Share facilitation duties

Offer expertise to the team

Help the team reward itself and celebrate successes

Offer to observe and give feedback to further improve the team

e. Mourning The final stage of a team is the closing of the team. After the project was finished and the performing stage has ended the team has to be lead into the mourning stage. The team leader role is to facilitate the evaluation and to actually talk in past tense in order to achieve the psychological effect of team termination among the team members. A memorable social event should be organized (dinner, a night out, etc.) to celebrate the outcomes of the team and the project. Team leader should clearly state that this is an end of this team or project. This prevents that team members will “drag” the experiences from past teams into new teams where they contribute as a team players. Of course, it is always good to learn on examples, but it is not healthy to always compare the present team to how the old one worked as the old one was closed down when the project finished.

Handouts LSS 15th‐24th July 2011 

f. Summary: strategies for team leaders Stage

Key elements

Strategies

Group

May be strangers

Create a common goal

“I” – focused individuals

Create and use norms

Lack of compelling goal

Clarify and link roles

No norms

Define accountabilities

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Leadership Summer School   2011 Cluj‐Napoca, Romania 


Roles loosely linked

Teach interpersonal skills

Individual accountabilities

Encourage participation Evaluate meeting effectiveness Provide clear process

Main Strategy – Provide structure and support

Stage

Key elements

Strategies

Forming

Members unsure

Create a common goal

Uncertainty

Create and use norms

Low trust

Define accountabilities

Need direction

Clarify roles and responsibilities

Commitment low

Provide clear process

Group skills unrefined

Encourage participation

Overdependence on leader

Evaluate team effectiveness

Main Strategy – Build team spirit and comfort while providing lots of structure for activities

Stage

Key elements

Strategies

Storming

Conflict emerges

Stay neutral and calm

Frustration sets in

Create safety for expressing feelings

Animosities develop Cliques form Leader is rejected Power struggles Emotional arguing

Honestly admit there's conflict Help members identify and solve issues Invite input and feedback Make interventions

Handouts LSS 15th‐24th July 2011 

Assertively referee conflict Teach interpersonal and conflict management skills Encourage communication Main Strategy – Listen, address conflict, referee assertively and resolve issues collaboratively

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Leadership Summer School   2011 Cluj‐Napoca, Romania 

                    


Stage

Key elements

Strategies

Norming

Members "own" problems

Offer methods for feedback

Conflicts are resolved

Help solve problems

Power issues are resolved

Invite personal feedback

Team redefines its norms

Offer further training

Performance problems corrected

Support members while they make improvements

Create empowerment plans

Share power Mediate personality clashes Coach and counsel individuals Share the leadership role

Main strategy – Support team improvement efforts and encourage member empowerment

Stage

Key elements

Strategies

Performing

High productivity

Collaborate with members on process

Conflicts managed by members Commitment to goal high Roles and responsibilities clear Members behave in a facilitative manner Team continuously improves itself

Rotate facilitation and leadership duties Offer your expertise Help the team recognize and celebrate success

Members feel committed and bonded Main strategy – Share leadership responsibilities, collaborate, act as a resource

Handouts LSS 15th‐24th July 2011 

Some Ways to Start a Group Session 1. Go around the room and have each member state what he/she wants from the upcoming session. 2. As leaders, share your thoughts about where the group is at, how it is progressing, ways the group might be getting stuck, etc. 3. Ask members if they have any unresolved feelings or thoughts about the previous session: "Did anyone have any after thoughts or leftover feelings about last week's session?" 4. Ask, "How is each of you feeling about being here today?" 14

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5. Have each member complete the sentence, "Today I'd like to get actively involved by…". 6. Announce, "As a way of beginning tonight, let’s have a brief go-around and have each of you say what you'd most like to be able to say by the end of this session." 7. Inquire of each member: "What were you thinking and feeling before coming to the group today?" or "Whom (or what) are you most aware of in this room right now, and why?"

Some Ways to End a Group Session 1. Ask members to tell the group briefly what they learned about themselves through their relationships with other members in that particular session. 2. Ask, "What was it like for you to be in this group tonight?" 3. Instruct, "Let's do a quick go-around and have everyone say a few words on how the group is progressing so far and make any suggestions for change." 4. Indicate, "Before we close tonight, I'd like to share with you some of my reactions and observations of this session." 5. Ask if anybody has any feedback that they would like to give another member or the leaders. 6. Determine if here are any issues that members would like to return to or explore in the next session.

4.

Sources

BOOKS: Bens, Ingrid: Facilitating with Ease!. Core Skills for Facilitators, Team Leaders and Members, Managers, Consultants, and Trainers, 2005. Biech, Elaine: The Pfeiffer Book of Successful Team-Building Tools. Best of the Annuals, 2007. Egolf, Donald B.: Forming Storming Norming Performing. Successful Communication in Groups And Teams, 2001. Parker, Glenn M.: Team Players and Teamwork. New Strategies for Developing Successful Cooperation, 2008. WEBSITES:

Handouts LSS 15th‐24th July 2011 

Mason, Wendy H.: Sensitivity Training (retrieved on 2011-08-03); http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/management/Sc-Str/Sensitivity-Training.html Mindtools.com: Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing. Helping New Teams Perform Effectively, Quickly (retrieved on 2011-08-03); http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_86.htm Tuckman, Bruce W.: Developmental Sequence in Small Groups (retrieved on 2011-08-03); http://www.mph.ufl.edu/events/seminar/Tuckman1965DevelopmentalSequence.pdf

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OTHER SOURCES:

Handouts LSS 15th‐24th July 2011 

Čeh, Borut: Team Management. Particpants Handout for Leadership Summer School 2009.

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Leadership Summer School   2011 Cluj‐Napoca, Romania 

                    

LSS 2011  

Handout Group Dynamics

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