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Steps to creating a successful student work group
Nothing guarantees a great group experience, but following some or all of the steps below can help you and your classmates start your group with similar expectatoins and a better understanding of how you each work within the group process.
1. Name your group -something descriptive of who you are and/or the goals you hope to meet
2. Decide 3-5 norms/rules that everyone expects to abide by - these can be clarify expectations about how to use time, how to make decisions, and/or what your group values
3. Decide 2-3 goal(s) of the group - what do you hope to accomplish as a group?
4. Decide who will play what roles – (here are a few)
Organizing – keeps track of tasks, deadlines and assignments; keeps group on task
Envisioning –helps generate new ideas, links solutions/suggestions to innovate
Spanning – connects with others outside the group
Social – pays attention to relationships within the group, makes sure everyone has a chance to participate; defuses conflict; adds humor
5. Determine tasks to be accomplished with deadlines
6. Decide who will undertake each of those tasks
7. Understand your group:
Now that your group is “rolling,” consider from time to time, getting to know each other by comparing notes about these self-quizzes. Everyone should choose the same ones to do and be comfortable talking about their results
Conflict Management Quizzes (choose one)
Conflict management quiz from CU Boulder: Figures it out for you – uses animals (owl, mouse, etc.)
Conflict management quiz from North Carolina State Univeristy: Have to do the math but uses widely accepted conflict styles
- How could different conflict management styles/expectations create misunderstandings within your group?
- How could they help your group deal with conflicts more effectively?
- Consider creating 1-2 “rules” about group expectations during disagreements. Remember disagreements are good since it means you are considering alternative perspectives, which is a primary reason for using a group in the first place. A group with no conflict is likely not going to produce a good product. But, conflict does not need to mean hurt feelings.
Here are some very quick guides to working through conflict and/or problem solving:
University of Michigan
Very simple ideas but with some good links for more depth from Indeed
Picturing your group: SYMLOG
The SYMLOG "maps" where group members typically fall on three dimensions: Task-oriented vs. Emotionally expressive, Friendly vs. Unfriendly, and Dominant vs. Submissive
Understanding how people tend to operate can help you know what to expect from each other as well as consider how you can help each other contribute productively to the group.
1. Each person should complete the abbreviated SYMLOG form and then calculate where they lie on the each axis as well as how large their circle should be
2. Create a document similar to this graph in a shared space (Brightspace, Google Docs, OneDrive, Teams) so everyone can add their circle to the graph
- What people who have very large circles compared to others may need to consider
- What should people who are very task-oriented keep in mind when working with others who are very emotionally expressive?
- If you have people who are more on the “unfriendly” side (meaning, they are not generally interested in socializing during task groups), how can they contribute effectively to the group?
True colors (equates personalities with colors)
NERIS personality type (similar to Myers-Briggs)
- How might the differences in personalities create opportunities for the group to function more effectively?
- How might the differences create challenges for group members?
- How can you navigate those challenges?
Please address any questions or suggestions to Dr. Marcia Dixson