What Causes Poor Group Dynamics?

Group leaders and team members can contribute to a negative group dynamic. Below are some of the most common problems that can occur

  • Weak leadership: when a team lacks a strong leader, a more dominant member of the group can often take charge. This can lead to a lack of direction, infighting, or a focus on the wrong priorities.
  • Excessive deference to authority: this can happen when people want to be seen to agree with a leader, and therefore hold back from expressing their own opinions.
  • Blocking: this happens when team members behave in a way that disrupts the flow of information in the group. People can adopt blocking roles such as:
    • The aggressor:this person often disagrees with others, or is inappropriately outspoken.
    • The negator:this group member is often critical of others’ ideas.
    • The withdrawer:this person doesn’t participate in the discussion.
    • The recognition seeker:this group member is boastful, or dominates the session.
    • The joker:this person introduces humour at inappropriate times.
  • Groupthink this happens when people place a desire for consensus above their desire to reach the right decision. This prevents people from fully exploring alternative solutions.
  • Free riding:here, some group members take it easy, and leave their colleagues to do all the work. Free riders may work hard on their own, but limit their contributions in group situations; this is known as “social loafing.”
  • Evaluation apprehension: team members’ perceptions can also create a negative group dynamic. Evaluation apprehension happens when people feel that they are being judged excessively harshly by other group members, and they hold back their opinions as a result.

Look at the groups that you manage or are part of – ring any bells? Revise structures and roles to maximise the effectiveness of the Team!

Good Luck!

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