Happy Tuesday, my friend!
I came across this tweet last week:
More than that, navigating group dynamics well is critical to be an effective leader. We need to create safety, to bring out the best of our team, to sway discussions in certain directions.
The question remains: How exactly do you make space for others? And how can you influence the group dynamic overall?
1. Notice what others don't
What's the energy of the room? Are others showing open, relaxed body language, or closed, defensive body language?
Many are too caught in their own head to read what's happening. But to sway a discussion, you need the right diagnosis.
The easiest way to notice more? ...You got it: Say less.
2. Neutralize bad apples
Jerks, so-called bad apples, can bring down a group fast.
Think of the person who talks others down and consistently interrupts. Or the person who acts as if they don't care.
Luckily, we can neutralize these bad apples. Show radically open and warm body language. Laugh and smile. Diffuse tension and pivot to ask a question from someone else.
3. Bring in someone quiet
Who has not been speaking? And who's been quiet relative to their expertise?
People don't talk in proportion to how much they know about a topic. The person who knows the most might have said the least.
Bring them in. But avoid saying "you haven't said much," which draws attention to their silence.
Simply, "Jane: what do you think?" works great.
4. Change the nature of the conversation
Is everyone agreeing? Disagreeing?
We get stuck in patterns. I've been in groups where we've overlooked big risks, because no one asked critical questions.
Look out for these patterns:
Disagreement persists, because not enough time is spent seeking to understand, before before being understood.
One person gets interrogated by the group ("hot seat")
A dialogue between two people dominate a group meeting
The goal of the conversation is lost
Things you can do:
Ask the group, "What is our objective?" Or, "What criteria are we using?"
Point out the dynamic you observe. "I noticed the conversation is now mainly between you two. Could you revisit that conversation later, and we'll get back to the goal of our current conversation?"
Want to learn more?
Learn about the different roles we play in a group from Dr. Kantor who created the Kantor Four Player Model. This helps you diagnose a group dynamic by seeing which roles are missing.
Until next time 🚀- Kat