Many times when we are working in teams, we are focused on the objective: getting the project done in time and within budget. What we sometimes fail to take into consideration is how we leverage each other’s strengths or weaknesses.
Group dynamics focuses on evolution of group development and the inter-relationships amongst team-members. By analyzing the group, one can understand the power structure and build strategies on how one can best lead a new team or as a team-member, be more impactful.
Teams typically have an Alpha Male or Female leading the group. Sometimes it’s the designated project manager and sometimes it’s someone else that the group had granted to be the informal leader (refer to Knowing the Informal Leader in your Project Team for more information on Informal Leadership).
Teams also have scapegoats and individuals who are typically silenced because they are perceived as the weakest of the group or are perceived to have valuable contribution to the team.
These roles tend to manifest themselves during the forming stage of group development. In order to assess who’s assumed which roles, I like to use an assessment tool I’ve created called “The Lego Game”.
Although this low-tech methodology may appear to be juvenile on the surface, I can assure you that the game provides the most insightful group dynamics data that a novice can use.
In fact, it’s an exercise that I’ve used to teach my undergraduate and graduate students on this topic. It’s meant to call out some of the team’s behavioral strengths and weakness.
The Lego Game
Prior to meeting with the team: