Group Formation Helps


Problem-Solving Suggestions:

1.  Contribute to group orientation - Successful problem-solving discussions occur more frequently when group members are willing to take communication risks and speak up, in order to clarify the group's focus. It has been established that there is a positive relation between increases in orientation behavior and increases in consensus.


2.  Seek information and opinions - This questioning provides a vehicle for the full exploration of necessary information and opinions regarding the discussion topic. When in doubt about the direction or quality of dialogue, ask a question.


3.  Maximize ideational conflict - Mature, cohesive groups can tolerate a high degree of idea conflict without fear of offending one another personally and with the central negative role played vigorously.


4.  Separate people, ideas, and criticism - This skill gives group ownership rather than individual ownership to ideas. Simply by allowing time to elapse between the suggestion of an idea and its criticism does much to reduce the fear of personal and rapid-fire criticism on the part of group members.


5.  Examine advantages and disadvantages of solutions - This skill must be performed competently as to ensure that the group does not bring premature closure to the discussion by quickly agreeing to the first good solution they hear.



Role-playing Suggestions:

1.  Help in role formation - Although role clarification is a well-understood goal in the development of a group, the means to that end are less clear. Members should be encouraged to try different roles and it is also important to recognize that role formation is dynamic, not a static, phenomenon in group development.


2.  Be role flexible - Research has shown that people play different roles in different groups because the tasks are different and the people forming the groups are different. "Role ruts" should be avoided.


3.  Help ease primary tension - If someone is trying to break the primary tension of the group with humor, that person should be encouraged through positive feedback and not socially ignored with looks of disinterest.


4.  Ensure that the devil's advocate role is role is played - Group members should feel comfortable when playing the role of devil's advocate. If a single person plays this role all the time, the group may think that the person is too cynical and not loyal to the group.


5.  Support the task leader - When a person begins to emerge as leader, all members should encourage and support that member. The leader tends to do more work in a group and shoulder more responsibility.


Trust Building Suggestions:

1.  Risk self-disclosure - When you feel comfortable with the task the group is performing, you should take the risk of self-disclosure. Relevant disclosures contribute to the growth of the group's overall maturity. Disclosure by one member usually leads to disclosure by other members.


2.  Avoid stereotyped judgments - Small group research clearly indicates that the more pluralistic a group is, the more difficult time it will have in forming due to a tendency to stereotype people. Listening carefully to what a member has to say rather than categorizing them goes a long way toward building trust and understanding in your group.


3.  Be an empathic listener - Paraphrasing is an empathic listening skill which fosters emotional security as others in the group disclose common past experiences and clarifies the ideas that a group is discussing. This should occur on both the emotional and ideational level of a group discussion.


4.  Recognize individual differences - Learning to tolerate and accommodate some of the more unpleasant aspects of a group member is one of the surest ways to help a group develop and mature. People do their best work when they feel that they can be themselves in the group.


5.  Provide emotional security for all members - Group members which are most likely to be excluded from the group should be sought out. If you make an effort to make person feel comfortable, wanted, and included during the discussions, then the overall emotional security of the group should be strengthened.


Team Building Suggestions:

1.  Build group pride - It is important that the group build its pride on a solid foundation of measurable productivity, in order to avoid exaggerating its superiority over other groups.


2.  Create symbols and slogans - Highly cohesive groups always work out ways to identify their group; sometimes these are as obvious and insignias, or mascots, or the use of nicknames. Developing these symbols as a group, members will have powerful rhetorical labels to help members become a group and maintain their pride.


3.  Establish group traditions - Traditions help to maintain the group's sense of oneness and immortality. All work groups should spend some time dwelling on their past accomplishments and retelling old stories as a means of both maintaining the group's maturity and assimilating new members into the group.


4.  Tell sacred stories - Sacred stories are "sacred" because they are stories that reveal beliefs with respect to productivity, social behavior, and company policy that long-standing members of the organization understand and normally follow.


5.  Initiate group expectations - There are four types of group expectations: expectations about individual group members, about the group's teamwork, about the group's personality, and to neutralize false expectations about the group. This is an essential communication behavior in building the group pride, identification, and motivation.


Team Activity Suggestions:

1.  Regular Events

a.        Meals/Suppers

b.        Family Worships

c.         Sabbath Activities

d.        Sabbath Vespers

e.        Friday Night Vespers


2.  Special Spiritual Events

a.        Intercessory Prayer Times

b.        Prayer Teams

c.         Prayer Chains

d.        Bible Study Groups

e.        Witnessing Outreach Opportunities

f.           Scripture Memorization

g.        Spiritual Accountability Partners


3.  Other Events

a.        Picnics

b.        Birthday/Anniversary Celebrations

c.         U-Pick Fruit Gathering

d.        Pumpkin Carving

e.        Hayride/Bonfire

f.           Canoeing

g.        Photography/Art Projects

h.        Take a Train Ride

i.            Bake Cookies

j.            Visit Historical Sites

k.         Visit Zoos, Museums, Aquariums

l.            Sports Activities

m.     Fishing

n.        Camping/Backpacking

o.        Skiing

p.  Bike Riding/Roller-Blade

q.  Swimming/Water Sports

r.     Go to an Imax or Planetarium

s.   Model Rocket/Model Train

t.     Auto Shows

u.  Kite Flying

v.   Plant a Tree

w. Horseback Riding/4H

x.   Shopping

y.   Adopt a Charity

z. Do a Scavenger Hunt/Corn Maze