Working in groups is easier to do if you have an understanding of how groups work and how you can influence outcomes. Getting the most out of group work involves understanding that:
1. Groups are predictable - they go through the following stages: - Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Mourning (Tuckman 1965). Once you know the dynamics of how they work you can start anticipating and preventing problems
2. People behave predictably - there are 9 main roles people take on in a group – they each have their strengths and weaknesses (Belbin 2011). Groups work best if you know your own preference and understand the others (see factsheets for more information)
3.Your behaviour influences the group - groups are made of individuals, if each person listened, respected, contributed, supported the others then many problems would be avoided. Ensure your behaviour in the group encourages, respects and supports others . Ensure that you are inclusive and include everyone in the discussions and decisions.
4.Be positive - positive energy needs to be generated, be positive with teammates. Do not be negative, defensive or cliquey. Make a conscious decision to be inclusive and supportive. This way others will take your lead and the group will stay focused and enthusiastic. Never talk about the group outside the group.
5.At the start of the project - agree some rules that accommodate everyone: When to meet? How often? Agree a task schedule. Come prepared, make sure all group members contribute and agree.