HE M OP HI L I A OR G A N I Z AT I ON D E V E L OP M EN TMay 2009 · No. 4GROUPDYNAMICSAND TEAMBUILDINGSecond editionAnn-Marie NazzaroNational Hemophilia Foundation (USA)Joyce StrazzaboscoConsultant and Trainer (USA)
Published by the World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH), 2003; revised 2009 World Federation of Hemophilia, 2009The WFH encourages redistribution of its publications for educational purposes by not-for-profithemophilia organizations. In order to obtain permission to reprint, redistribute, or translate thispublication, please contact the Communications Department at the address below.This publication is accessible from the World Federation of Hemophilia’s web site at www.wfh.org,Additional copies are also available from the WFH at:World Federation of Hemophilia1425 René Lévesque Boulevard West, Suite 1010Montréal, Québec H3G 1T7CANADATel. : (514) 875-7944Fax : (514) 875-8916E-mail: [email protected]: www.wfh.orgThe Hemophilia Organization Development series aims to help hemophilia society leaders, staff, andvolunteers develop the skills necessary to effectively represent the interests of people with hemophilia.The World Federation of Hemophilia does not engage in the practice of medicine and under nocircumstances recommends particular treatment for specific individuals.Statements and opinions expressed here do not necessarily represent the opinions, policies, orrecommendations of the World Federation of Hemophilia, its Executive Committee, or its staff.
Table of ContentsIntroduction . 1Understanding Group Dynamics . 1Getting Acquainted . 2Clarifying Expectations . 3Group Problem Solving . 3Team Building . 4Team Development . 6Achieving Group Consensus . 6Conclusion . 7Resources . 7Appendix 1: Techniques for Managing Group Dynamics . 8Appendix 2: Building and Managing Successful Virtual Teams . 12Appendix 3: Broken Squares .Broken Squares Instruction Sheet for Participants.Instructions to the Observer/Judge .Directions for Making the Squares for the Broken Square Exercise .13141415Appendix 4: Team Stages . 16Appendix 5: Lost on the Moon . 17Actual NASA Ranking. 18
Group Dynamics and Team BuildingAnn-Marie Nazzaro, Joyce StrazzaboscoIntroductionUnderstanding Group DynamicsThis monograph was developed as a companionto a workshop on group dynamics and teambuilding, presented at the WFH Global NMOTraining Workshop May 16-18, 2002, in Huelva,Spain. The workshop offered two methods oflearning: (1) brief talks by the facilitators thatdescribed some theory, and (2) structuredactivities through which the participantsexperienced and then discussed some of theelements of group dynamics and team building.The term “group dynamics” refers to theinteractions between people who are talkingtogether in a group setting. Group dynamics canbe studied in business settings, in volunteersettings, in classroom settings, and in socialsettings. Any time there are three or moreindividuals interacting or talking together, thereare group dynamics.In this monograph, we will review some of thetheories of group dynamics and team buildingthat were addressed in that workshop. Inaddition, we have included structured activitiesthat may be used in local group settings. Itwould be advisable to identify a volunteer whohas some experience in managing groupdynamics to facilitate the activities.We wish to acknowledge that the content of thismonograph is taken from materials and theoriesdeveloped in the United States. Therefore, itreflects a western European cultural context.Some human behaviours transcend culturaldifferences; others do not. The reader will be thebest judge of how relevant the material may befor his or her local group. We offer these ideasand exercises as tools to understanding andimproving the effectiveness of one’s own group;they are not intended to influence or replacereaders’ cultural traditions.The subjects of group dynamics and teambuilding are broad. One can study each of thesetopics for years and still have more to learn.There are many ways to approach each. A simpleInternet search will result in thousands of websites on either group dynamics or team building.These subjects are important because theyinfluence how productive a group or a teambecomes. By understanding group dynamicsand by doing some team building, a group canincrease how much it accomplishes.A great deal can be learned by observation. Ifone sits back quietly in a group ― any group ―one will begin to see certain behaviouralpatterns emerge. There will be at least oneperson who tends to take the lead inconversation, offering his or her thoughts andopinions freely. There will be at least oneperson who remains quiet, sometimes not evenappearing interested in the conversation. Theremay be someone who tends to interrupt otherpeople, someone who wants the conversation tomove along faster, or who wants to focus on adifferent subject. Another person may beconcerned about peoples’ feelings and may tryto make everyone feel equally welcome. Theseare only a few of the roles that people assumewithout even thinking about it when they are ina group setting.Group roles are largely determined by acombination of a person’s personality and his orher experience with group settings. A personwho is shy is more likely to sit back in a group.A person who is impatient is more likely to pushthe discussion ahead. A person who is veryconfident will offer more opinions. If such rolesare more or less pre-determined, how can thegroup dynamics be improved?The way a group interacts can be improved inseveral ways. There are training programs toattend and there are tests one can take to learnabout one’s communication style. Perhaps thesimplest way to improve a group’s dynamics isfor one or more group members to learn tomanage the discussion, and thus help a groupaccomplish its goals, much as a conductor
2manages the many players in an orchestra toproduce a blended sound. By “manage” wemean respond to and redirect the behaviour orparticipation of an individual to a direction thatis better for the group. Whether or not the groupis managed, group roles will occur. By learningabout the typical kinds of behaviour that emerge,and how to respond to them appropriately,one can improve the effectiveness of groupdiscussions. [See Appendix 1: Techniques forManaging Group Dynamics.]The two most common roles affecting a group’seffectiveness are the person who dominates andthe person who remains silent. It can be asdifficult to get the quiet person to speak as it isto get the talkative person to talk less. Tomanage the dominant person, one might saysomething like, “You have a lot of good ideas,Carlos. I have written them down to discusslater. For now, we need to talk about .”To the quieter person, one might say, “What areyour thoughts on this subject, Marie?” It is bestto ask the quieter person a question that cannotbe answered by a simple “yes” or “no.” A broadquestion “casts a wider net,” to use a fishinganalogy. In any case, a direct and respectfulapproach is recommended where possible.(Note: In some cultures, directness is notappropriate. In some cultures, directness isacceptable, but only between certain types ofpeople. This is an example of when a readermay have to “translate” a suggested behaviourinto his or her own culture.)There are a variety of other roles that mayemerge in a group, and a textbook on groupdynamics would be a good resource for learningmore about them. In addition to beinginfluenced by culture, roles are influenced bygender, age, race/ethnicity, religious tradition,and other traits. For most people, though, it issufficient to know that group settings do bringout certain behaviours, and an effective group isone in which those behaviours are channeledpositively to move the agenda forward.Finally, one should be aware that themanagement of group dynamics can emergefrom any group member. The person with theauthority to lead (the chairperson or groupconvener) may not be the person who is best atactually managing group dynamics. Any groupmember who sees an opportunity should seizeGroup Dynamics and Team Buildingthe opportunity to improve the effectiveness ofthe members’ interactions. The entire group isresponsible for its own effectiveness and allmembers share equally in that responsibility.The chairperson or convener has agreed toperform certain duties, but it should not beassumed that he or she is the sole leader. Indeed,we will see below in the section on teambuilding that an effective group or team is one inwhich each member assumes responsibilityaccording to his or her talents and expertise.Getting AcquaintedSince group dynamics and team building arebased fundamentally on the relationshipsamong the people involved, it is both courteousand sensible to assure that the members all areintroduced to each other, and that they areoffered opportunities to get to know each otherand to build relationships. A group or team withmembers who know each other well is likely tobe more effective. People tend to offer more ofthemselves when they are with people whomthey know than when they are with strangers. Itis therefore a good idea to spend some timehelping people get acquainted with one another.Often we assume people know each other whenthey do not. A common feeling amongnewcomers is that the more senior members ofthe group are somewhat exclusive. This isbecause the senior members know each otherbetter and have well-established patterns ofcommunication. They have past experiences incommon and they may forget to explain certainreferences to the newcomers. This can lead to afeeling of exclusion, and if it is not corrected, thenewcomers might leave the group.It is the responsibility of the current members tohelp the newcomers get oriented to the groupand to its members. There are many ways toaccomplish this. People have created activitiescalled “Ice Breakers” or “Get-AcquaintedActivities.” A search on the Internet using eitherof those terms will produce many examples.These simple games can get people interactingwith each other.One popular ice-breaker is to divide the groupinto pairs, and have one person interview theother for a few minutes, and then switch.
Group Dynamics and Team BuildingSometimes an outline is given for the interviewquestions. Then the group is called backtogether, and each person introduces his or herpartner to the whole group. Individuals learn abit about the importance of listening when theybegin to introduce their partners. They alsolearn something about the various members ofthe group. Many find it easier to talk aboutsomeone else than to talk about themselves in alarge group. The timing for this exercise is about5 minutes for the interviews, and 30-60 secondsfor each introduction.Simpler still is to begin each meeting by askingthe members to introduce themselves, and tospecify at least part of what they should talkabout, with the leader or the chairperson goingfirst to set an example. Below is a list of somesuggested topics for introduction: Tell your name, how long you have beeninvolved with the group, and how youbecame involved with this group.Introduce yourself and tell us where yougrew up.Introduce yourself and tell us a valuable lifelesson that you have learned, such as:- What you think your greatest strength is;- A funny thing that happened to you;- When you first learned about ourorganization;- The farthest away you have ever traveled,and why you went there; and- One thing you hope we accomplish in thenext six months.The more one gets to know another person, themore he or she will understand that person. Thebetter people understand each other, the moreeffectively they can work together. Taking fiveto ten minutes to get acquainted at thebeginning of a meeting is a very soundinvestment of time.Clarifying ExpectationsUnderlying every perception is one’sexpectation. “Expectation” is that oftenunspoken idea we have of how things are goingto be, or how people will behave, or how peoplewill react. Many times people are surprisedwhen something happens that is different fromwhat they expected. They may be so surprised3that they are unable to react appropriately to thereality, because they are so caught up in theirexpectation.In any group of individuals brought together fora purpose, every one of those participants willlikely have a slightly different expectation ofwhat is going to happen and how it is going tohappen. This underlying expectation may colouran individual’s reactions to the stated agenda.Therefore, it is a good idea to spend a minute ortwo clarifying members’ expectations. It caneven become a part of the “getting acquainted”stage. A simple, open-ended question can putthe expectations on the table: “What do youexpect us to accomplish today?”Group Problem SolvingGroups tend to form for one of two reasons:either for purely social purposes (a celebration,for example) or to get something accomplished.In the latter case, there will be some form ofproblem solving required of the group. It iswhen a group is trying to accomplish somethingthat the interactions or dynamics becomestronger, especially if the group is underconstraints in time and resources. There arestructured experiences, such as “BrokenSquares” [See Appendix 3]. This is a fairlysimple, straight-forward exercise that can bringout varying styles and skills that can make agroup cohesive and effective. It can help groupmembers learn what helps and what hindersgroup problem solving.Successful group problem solving depends firston good communication among the members.By “communication” we mean the sharing ofinformation by everyone. Silence does not meanapproval. In fact, we do not know what silencemeans until it is broken. We do know that eachperson has a contribution to make. Membersmust offer what they know, what they observe,what they think, what they feel for the group tobe most effective. The following are somerecommendations for effectively solving aproblem as a group. Each member should understand the totalproblem or task. Someone, usually thechairperson or task leader, shouldsummarize the task that is to be done. He or
4Group Dynamics and Team Buildingof the group’s time. It is important to keepthe purpose, goal, or task in mind, and tobring the discussion back to the stated focus.This is the shared responsibility of all groupmembers.she should seek clarification from themembers to assure that everyoneunderstands what the group will be doing. Each person should realize how he or shecan contribute to the solution. Everyone hastalent and skills that they were born with, aswell as talents and skills they have acquired.Most of us tend to downplay or minimizewhat we have to offer. Problem solving is notime to be modest about one’s talents. Allavailable skills and talents should be on thetable for use by the group in solving itsproblem. Each person should recognize the potentialcontributions of others. Again, everyone hastalent and skills they were born with, andthose they have acquired through educationand experience. Sometimes we recognize atalent or skill in another person that they donot fully realize themselves. It is helpful togive that person encouragement toparticipate. Members should be willing to recognizewhen other members may need moreinformation or assistance, and to offer theirhelp so that each member can make his orher full contribution to the effort. Negotiation is important to success. Thevery differences that bring many talents intoa group also bring in different opinions andperceptions. The best solution is one thateveryone finds acceptable. The groupshould make decisions based on what is inthe organization’s best interest. It is the group’s responsibility to helpmanage the group’s dynamics; for example,to help the shy person to contribute, and tohelp the dominant person make timeavailable for others to speak. Everyone operates with assumptions andexpectations, and it is important to clarifywhat those are at the beginning, andwhenever it may be necessary. Sometimes members lose sight of what theoriginal purpose was and may getsidetracked. These “detours” can waste a lot Everyone has leadership qualities, andleadership may change depending on thesituation or task. Leadership meansinfluence; the person with the mostinfluence is not always the person with themost authority. If a member sees anopportunity that is in the group’s bestinterest, he or she is obligated to call thatopportunity to the group’s attention. Not every task is appropriate for a group.Writing, for example, is best accomplishedby an individual. Drafting a budget is betteraccomplished by an individual. The resultor product may be approved by the group,but the actual task of writing or calculatingshould be performed by an individual.Team BuildingWhat is a team? It is a group that has a job to do,whether as paid participants or as volunteers. Itis a group that has spent some time together,whether in smaller increments over a longperiod of time, or by spending a weekend ormore working together on something. It is agroup that achieves cohesiveness; a team’sstrength is found in the relationships among theteam members. It is a group with a commonobjective, whose members are very clear aboutworking toward one purpose. It is a groupwhose members are interdependent. Whereasother groups may recognize the strengths ofeach member, team members rely on thestrengths of each member to accomplish theobjective.An ideal team has a number of distinctcharacteristics, and they fall into three areas:their feedback and communication behaviours,their behaviour and conduct courtesies, andtheir ways of approaching tasks and problems.“Feedback and communication behaviours”describe how the members talk with oneanother, clarify their expectations, react to each
Group Dynamics and Team Building5something important (and because it isdisrespectful of the others);other’s ideas and offer their perceptions andopinions. In an ideal team, the members: Ask for help from other members when it isneeded and do not waste precious timestruggling alone; Give positive comments to each otherregularly and often, because they know itmotivates teammates; Give negative observations when necessary,but do it constructively, for example:“Frank, that proposal you wrote is verygood, but it’s a little weak in the evaluationsection. Joe has done a lot of evaluations,perhaps he can help”;Receive negative observations from anothermember without becoming defensive,because they know the comments are notmeant to be insulting, but are meant to helpthe team accomplish its goals; Stay focused on the task at hand, and do notengage in distracting behaviours; Call a time-out if they feel another member’sbehaviour is disruptive; Make the team meeting a priority so thatattendance is consistent; Begin and end meetings on time, somembers can use their time most efficiently; Obtain closure on topics and get a decision; Summarize and clarify the meeting at theend.Ways of approaching tasks and problems. In anideal team, the members: Accept every problem as a team problem,not one belonging only to one member; Never say “we cannot do this,” but say“how can we do this?”;Offer help to others when their own work iscompleted. “Behaviour and conduct courtesies” describe theprotocols that the members have agreed to as aresponsibility of being a member of the team. Inan ideal team, the members:Determine the action items that any decisionrequires, or think through how to carry outdecisions; Share failures as a team, never blaming onlyone or two members; Look at failures as a way to improve theteam functioning, because we can alwayslearn something from failure; Support other team members in times ofcrisis, for example: “Lars, I’m sorry to hearabout your family illness. Why don’t you gohome and I will finish your assignment”; Are ambassadors of that team, andrepresent the team, not just themselves; Remain open-minded and receptive to allideas, however different from their own; Share all information, so that everyone isworking from the same body of information; Give another member time to get his ideaout, and paraphrase the idea to assure theyunderstand the intended message; Take turns speaking;Use consensus for major decisions, whichresults in finding the most acceptabledecision for everyone, as opposed to voting,in which there are clear winners and losers; Encourage full participation by all members; Stay focused on the purpose of the team,which is to accomplish something together. Do not have side conversations during adiscussion, because participants might missA successful team will monitor its owneffectiveness and progress. Any member of the
6Group Dynamics and Team Buildingteam who observes that the team is underperforming has the responsibility to bring it tothe attention of the entire group so thatappropriate action can be taken to correct theproblem.Occasionally, there may be a member of thegroup who is not really there to advance thegroup’s objective, but perhaps to advance his orher own individual objective. If the personremains unwilling to put the group’s objectivefirst, then he or she may have to be removed as amember, or reassigned to a different group thatbetter corresponds with his or her personalobjectives. High-performing teams takewhatever steps may be necessary to remainfocused on their purpose.Team DevelopmentTeams and groups are living organisms withcertain predictable stages of development. Onecharacterization of the progression of teamdevelopment has been depicted by a series ofsteps on a graph. One axis represents successwith tasks that are more and more complicated,and the other represents the amount of time andeffort that the group has invested in becoming ateam. The graph looks like ngNormingStormingTime; Effort“Forming” is the initial stage of development,when team members may often have differingideas about purpose. There is relatively littletrust. People tend to be careful about what theysay, and how they say it. Everyone is on his orher “best behaviour.”“Storming” represents the arguing that willlikely occur as the team defines itself.There may be conflict about the purpose,leadership, and working procedures. Duringthis stage people often feel the team will never“come together.” This stage is similar to thehuman developmental stage of adolescence.“Norming” is the stage that occurs when theteam members are developing a shared visionand are setting goals and objectives. People aregetting to know one another’s strengths and arelearning how best to work together. The teamexperiences more stability and productivity.“Performing” indicates that the members nowhave a clear, shared sense of purpose, high trust,and open communication. The team is effectivewithin the existing paradigm. Camaraderie,relationships, and team spirit are high.“Transforming” occurs when the team is at suchan effective level of functioning that itcan redefine its shared purpose and respondquickly to change. The leadership within theteam is shared, trust is high, and communicationis open.The point of knowing about the stages of a teamis two-fold: (1) it can be helpful simply to knowthat there are stages, and that it is normal to gothrough these stages; (2) one can identify thestage of development for a given group or team,and can assist the progress through that stage bymanaging the interactions or dynamics betweenand among the members. If there is low trust,one can arrange for trust-building exercises. Ifthe team is in discord about its purpose, thereare techniques for helping to determine thecommon priorities. [For an additionaldescription, see Appendix 4: Team Stages.]Achieving Group ConsensusArriving at a decision can be a difficult processfor a group. Many groups resort to voting todecide issues. When possible, it is useful to workto achieve consensus.Consensus differs from voting in that it is morea process of achieving maximum agreement. Atopic is discussed until every member is willingto agree. That agreement might be moreenthusiastic for some members than others, butall members are on the positive side of agreeing.Like problem solving, consensus requires thateveryone share whatever information, opinions,facts, or feelings they may have. It is throughthis pooling of contributions that the group is
Group Dynamics and Team Buildingable to come to a decision that satisfieseveryone.There are a number of activities that can helpgroups practice consensus building. Typicallythey require each member to answerindividually some sort of questions or rankorder a list of items. When each has completedthe task individually, the group then sets aboutmaking one list. Invariably the group rankingsare more accurate than the individual rankings.This is because there is greater knowledge in thegroup than in any single individual.Achieving consensus requires some negotiating.Individual members are usually convinced thattheir original answers are correct. Only throughlistening to someone who thinks differently canone begin to see something in a different way.Explaining the reason behind one’s thought canhelp others to see its merit.Finally, when everyone is committed to acommon purpose, the task is more easilyaccomplished. Commitment to a purpose helpsone move past one’s own initial thinking, andallows one to listen to a diversity of ideas.Through this the group achieves the best result,by benefiting from the best of all of themembers.ConclusionMore can be accomplished with groups than canbe achieved by individuals alone, but to beproductive a group must remain focused andhealthy. One analogy is to liken a group to amotor vehicle. A group, like a vehicle, can getsomeone to a place faster. Most of us are moreinterested in our destination than we are in thevehicle that carries us there. However, if we donot pay attention to the vehicle, it will fall intodisrepair. A group, too, needs fueling andmaintenance.Another analogy is that of a garden. One plantsa garden and then tends to it, giving it waterand nutrients, removing the weeds, and withsufficient time and attention the gardenflourishes. A group, too, needs nourishment,and to have its “weeds” (e.g. inappropriatebehaviours) removed.7One cannot take a group for granted, any morethan one can take a garden or a vehicle forgranted. To do so invites problems. It is farbetter to give some time and attention to thegroup’s dynamics from time to time. By doingso, a group can sustain its forward developmentand achieve its full potential.Resources tm (Broken Squares). http://p2001.health.org/CTI02/17h-cda3.htm (NASA Exercise). Managing Teams, Lawrence Holpp,McGraw-Hill NY, 1999. Who’s Got the Ball (and other naggingquestions about team life), Maureen O’Brien,Josey-Bass NY, 1995. Training Dynamics, NHF Executive StaffTraining, 1999.
8Group Dynamics and Team BuildingAppendix 1Techniques for Managing Group DynamicsThere are many techniques to assist the facilitator in managing the agenda and group dynamics. Thefollowing are just a few of the more common and frequently used techniques available to the facilitator.Be creative and adaptive. Different situations require different techniques. With experience will come anunderstanding of how they affect group dynamics and when is the best time to use them.Equalizing ParticipationThe facilitator is responsible for the fair distribution of attention during meetings. Facilitators call theattention of the group to one speaker at a time. The grammar school method is the most commontechnique for choosing the next speaker. The facilitator recognizes each person in the order in whichhands are raised. Often, inequities occur because the attention is dominated by an individual or
World Federation of Hemophilia 1425 René Lévesque Boulevard West, Suite 1010 Montréal, Québec H3G 1T7 CANADA Tel. : (514) 875-7944 Fax : (514) 875-8916 E-mail: [email protected] Internet: www.wfh.org The Hemophilia Organization Development series aims to hel