Understanding and managing group dynamics

Understanding and managing group dynamics

Whether it’s a meeting at work, in a classroom, or a social occasion, when there are three or more people with a common reason to be together, then those people can be considered a group.

And whether that group is made up of three people or 30 people, they’re each going to have their own individual temperament, quirks, and characteristics, and they will each take on distinct roles and behaviours when they’re in a group.

“Group dynamics” is the term for the effects of these roles and behaviours on other group members and the group as a whole. A group’s dynamic is the force that impacts on the motivation, development, or stability of a group. It’s characterised by forces of personality, ambition, energy, and ideas. In a group with a positive dynamic, individuals work towards collective decisions; they trust and encourage one another and take responsibility for making positive things happen.

But in a group with poor group dynamics, the behaviour of one or more of the group can be disruptive. Separate individuals could be overly critical or negative of others’ ideas. Emotions can often run high; some individuals could be full of enthusiasm while others are sarcastic or appear uninterested.

Dealing with different personalities and personal agendas are common challenges at work and in social situations. It helps to be more aware of what’s going on between people if you want to manage these dynamics.

About the author

Gill Hasson is a teacher, trainer, and writer whose books include Confidence Pocketbook: Little Exercises for a Self-Assured Life. Follow on Twitter: @gillhasson