Group dynamics. It’s something we rarely think about, but subconsciously we have it down to a T. No matter how independent you think you are, you are always part of a group. And, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Or so they say.
It’s amazing really, the whole concept of group dynamics. A bit out of my league as a philosophical topic really. But I love to speculate and ponder. Maybe I’ll open your eyes to the dynamics of the groups you are in. I always struggle with the question – Are you an introvert or an extrovert. I’m a bit of both, and none of either really. It depends on the group I find myself in. Which is why some people see me as bossy and demanding, while other would describe me as quiet and reserved.
So during my time in England I really saw this whole dynamics thing. When we arrived, we were four new comers, moving in with 5 other people already living in the house. After work at 1h in the morning we went straight to bed, rarely spending time with the other outside of work. Then two of the old staff left for South Africa, and one other didn’t cope with the hours, so we were 6. We started watching movies after work, going out on off days, and actually bonding. We had our joker, a stirrer, a “mom”, a dork…all the ingredients of a great group. Then people started leaving and new ones joined and the groups constantly changed – at a stage we went to the movies often, then it was no movies but lots of late nights at home, and then later it was frequent visits to Liverpool after work. All because of one person extra or one less…everything changed.
I’m sure you’ve experienced it as well. You have that one guy in the office who always make you laugh and when he’s not there everyone gets gloomy and moody? Or that friend whose shoulder you could always cry on that moved away – far away? Or how about adding people to your group – you go on holiday with the whole family and after day 3 you realize how grouchy you are because grandma is constantly nagging you?
Obviously there are explanations and reasons for all this. Personalities, strengths, weaknesses… I would even suggest you and your co-workers take a strength test to determine your individual strengths, which will help you understand each other better and work better together as a group.
But for everyday situations I can only suggest communication. Be truthful and honest in all situations. We tend to be so sensitive to other’s feelings that we compromise ourself. And I don’t mean be selfish! Just be open for negotiation. In the end, group dynamics is a part of life, such as breathing and the weather. I don’t think we should attempt to change it – you might just find it a lot more interesting if you actually take note of it. You’ll be amazed at how people “change” as situations change 😉