Group Dynamics

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The characteristics of effective Groups

Much can be learned about the art of building an effective group. We now understand many of the principles that create the proper environment in which groups can blossom and flourish. Yet we remain unable to "guarantee" that any given group will reach its goals or be anything more than modestly successful. However, even a group composed of "the very best people" has some probability of failure.( )

Groups can take on so much more risk than individuals and can attempt a level of greatness that is beyond the realistic hope of any individual.

To unleash the full power of groups, members need to sort out for themselves where and how they can best make use of their group and what, for them, group work means. Below are characteristics of effective Groups.

Clear Purpose

The group members must agree on a clear purpose or goal and each team member is willing to work to achieve these goals. The team is aware of and interested in its own processes and examines norms operating within the team. The team identifies its own resources and uses them, depending on its needs. The team willingly accepts the influence and leadership of the members whose resources are relevant to the immediate task.


The team members continually listen to and clarify what is being said and show interest in others' thoughts and feelings. Differences of opinion are encouraged and freely expressed. The team does not demand narrow conformity or adherence to formats that inhibit freedom of movement and expression. The team is willing to identify conflict and focus on it until it is resolved or managed in a way that does not reduce the effectiveness of those involved. The team focuses on problem solving rather than allowing by interpersonal issues or competitive struggles to drain the team's energy.

Defined Roles

To get the most out of groups in any context you must clarify the relative roles of each...
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