When a group of individuals with different personalities, backgrounds, past experiences, and biases are in collaboration with each other, there will be challenges.
With any group dynamics, we will go through 4 stages of group development as described by Psychologist Bruce Tuckman.
- The forming
- The storming
- The norming
- The performing
The storming is inevitable for us to get to the “norming” and “performing” stages it seems. If we ride through these storms together over time with acceptance, openness, honesty, and a positive regard for one another, then we have hope.
So how do we get through the storm?
1. We need to align our goals. Two or more different individuals with aligned goals equal a great adaptive team. Two or more different individuals without aligned goals equal a war.
2. We need to connect when we are disconnected. When one feels disconnected, the rational thing to do is to reconnect. However, people don’t often do this. They often fall into the trap of withdrawing or criticising, which makes the disconnection worse. Be careful of this trap.
3. We need to resolve our conflicts through a positive regard for one another, accept and appreciate each other’s differences, and move forward together with aligned, value driven goals. Again, be careful not to fall into the usual trap of the fight or flight response with withdrawing or criticizing.
None of this is easy of course, but it is possible.