We are part of teams at nearly every point in our life; at work, at home, in social organisations, in sports clubs, in church communities – the list is endless. These team members interact with each other, are aware of one another, have a common objective and goal, and perceive themselves to be a group.
“Nothing truly valuable can be achieved except by the unselfish cooperation of many individuals.”
~ Albert Einstein
Being part of a group can be nurturing, supportive, and positive for the individual members. However, if the dynamic within the group is negative, team members can be left feeling depleted, discouraged and judged. Most groups look for a leader in an effort to maintain connection within. Positive dynamic within a group is easy to spot; the members trust each another, work towards a united decision, and hold each other accountable for making things happen.
Why positive group dynamic are essential for any group or team
- A group can influence the thinking of its members, and positive interactions will positively influence the individuals
- Groups with good leaders perform better than groups with weak leaders
- It will give job satisfaction to its members
- The cooperation of a connected group will result in maximisation of productivity
- Negative thinkers will be converted to positive thinkers
- The effect of synergy of positive thinkers is more than double every time (remember: 1 + 1 = >3)
- Emotional attachment within the group members reduces staff turnover
How brigades operate and how they view themselves and their hospitality business are too important to leave to chance. Success or failure of or brigade depends on a number of factors like: resources (knowledge, abilities, skills, personality characteristics), structure (size, roles, norms, bonding) and processes (communication, decision making, conflict management, leadership).
- Lack of a strong leader. When the leader is weak, a more dominant brigade member can often take charge. This can lead to misdirection, power struggle, disputes, or a focus on the wrong priorities.
- Excessive admiration. If people want to be seen to agree with their head chef and therefore hold back from expressing their own opinions, the brigade is suffering from disproportionate deference to authority.
- Taking a free ride: Some brigade members may work hard on their own but limit their contributions in group situations. This is called free riding or social loafing, and creates resentment within the brigade.
- Subdue to Groupthink: When people place a desire for consensus above their desire to reach the right decision or stand up for their opinion, it prevents the brigade from fully exploring alternative solutions. The desire for group cohesion effectively drives out good decision-making and problem solving.
- Adopting blocking roles. Brigade members can disrupt the flow of information in the group by adapting blocking roles such as the aggressor (often disagreeing with others or being inappropriately outspoken), the negator (often critical of others’ ideas), the withdrawer (not participating in discussions), the recognition seeker (being boastful or dominating sessions), or the joker (introducing humor at inappropriate times).
- Fear of feedback. This happens when people feel that they are being judged too harshly by other brigade members and hold back their opinions as a result, in turn contributing to a negative group dynamic.
All teams are groups, but not all groups are teams. Identifying brigade dynamics and understanding positive and negative outcomes is a stepping stone to knowing how to predict and build team performance. To improve team or workforce dynamics comprises of six major elements:
- Know the brigade
- Focus on communication
- Define goals and responsibilities
- Solve problems fast
- Strengthen the brigade
There are many factors that can influence the dynamic negatively, and it is crucial that the head chef identifies and acts on them quickly. A brigade with a positive dynamic is nearly twice as creative as an average team; but the dynamics of many people interacting may present difficulties at times. However, witnessing the development and strengthening of the bond within that brigade is well worth the effort. Ask any successful Executive Chef.
“Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”
~ Henry Ford
[box style=”1″]Time for action
- Are there any dysfunctional roles being played within your brigade?
- Have you noticed any Groupthink symptoms? How can you nurture and develop these particular group members?[/box]
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