Improve group work and dynamics through these strategies
Get better results in the work done by using these strategies to improve group work and dynamics among the members of your team.
Right from pre-school students to big teams in a multi national company, group work is a common notion. People get together in groups for various reasons and this leads to a fruitful outcome for all. Your teacher might have put you in a group for a project. Growing older, you would have had your own group of friends you hang out with. Similarly, you would have been put in a group at your workplace, too. To understand your strengths and weaknesses, and to bring the result to the team, these groups are essential. There is always a chance of getting even better at working in a group. Here are ways to improve group work in your team:
A) Know the need of teamwork
An important point to improve group work is to know the value of the team that you are working with. We have emphasized more on this in this blog on harnessing a team oriented mindset. It is important to make the members of the team realize that the team is able to achieve more than the individual. As a kid, one commonly told story to me was about the father who had three sons who would always fight. No matter how much he tried, these three never got along.
So one day, the father got a bunch of sticks to teach the sons with an example. Then he asked them each to break a stick or two on their own. When they found this easy to do, the father gave them each a few sticks. He asked them to break these, too. As it happened, no son was able to break even a single stick when they were given to him in a bunch. This story serves as a great example to make the members of a team realize the value of it and to improve group work. Similar examples can also be used.
B) Skills to improve group work
Skills are not something you are necessarily born with. They come with effort and patience. At the same time, it is important to show the team that these skills are required. Try making the members of your team forcefully collaborate on their daily tasks. Tell them, though, to be mindful of their time and that of the other person. This way, the member in your group will not only improve his/ her own group work, but will also consciously notice what the other person is doing and pick up skills from them.
The skills in this exercise would be patience and observation. Similarly, pick a skill that you think is necessary for your team to have. Find ways to get the members of your team to enhance that particular skill. Keep in mind that these might not apply equally to all the members. While one may have a keen eye for spotting something, another may not even realize that something is in front of them. This way, the time that is to be spent on the same skill by each person differs. This happens due to the upbringing of an individual as well as the circumstances that they are put through. You can also try relationship building activities for improving your group dynamics.
C) Form groups with care
As stated above, not every person in your team will get along with every other person in the same way. Nor will they contribute the team in the same way. Individuals have varied strengths and weaknesses and these need to be well known. The S.W.O.T analysis is a well known way to get to know these. Try it with your team and get them to know themselves better. Also keep a note of this while assigning tasks to members. It is not worth combining two people with the exact same skills most of the time. Pair up people such that their skills compliment each other.
In a remote setting, it is not easy to gauge the performance of the members. Knowing their high and low points can be made easier with the use of tools that help in this. We suggest that you try out tools like Remote Work Scorecard. This tool makes you take a short test to measure the various parameters. Check out the behaviors, motivators and ideal work environment of your group. Improve group work by using these stats in a well planned manner.
D) Encourage Feedback and Discussions
A key point when it comes to improving group work is to keep each person in the know of where they can improve. The above analysis do help, but the people who are actually doing it with you are the best to get feedback from. Block time for discussions and make your team prepare points about their own self and the people they work with in the group. Listen to and understand these with an open mind. Work on improvement then.
A good exercise in a remote work setting is to have a team virtual meetup every few weeks that is meant just for feedback. This could even be a 1-on-1 with the person in charge of the group. It is good to do this regardless of whether it happens with just two people or if the entire group is made to do this. This will also make the members of the group observe how the work happens and in line with the second point above, it will also make an individual pick up skills that they feel are needed.
What do you think of the above four points to improve group work and dynamics? Do you already apply these in your remote team? Also, do you have any more points which you think make a good addition to the above given points? We have given some tools below which we think will help improve group work in your team. Do check them out!