I remember participating in a group workshop at a company conference last year. PSU, WC, L.9, 2017 describes a group as two or more people interacting with each other and sharing mutual influence. We were separated into groups of 6 and assigned a trip to plan and a small budget in order to get there with various stipulations such as much eat 3 meals per day, must stop to sleep, must do one activity per day etc. Each group of 6 needed to work together in order to achieve the goal of a planned trip within the allotted budget.
The group size of 6 was perfect for the task at hand, not to large as to encourage silos or cliques and not to small, therefore, allowing room for sharing ideas and multiple resources. Even though it was a small group, I did notice some social loafing, which is described as less participation from certain group members when individual effort is not required to reach the outcome (PSU WC, l.9, 2017). The more dominant personalities lead the conversation and the creative group members provided many ideas. The social loafers were simply able to agree or disagree but didn’t provide much input.
The group had a 30 minute time limit for task completion, however, we still went through the Group Stages of development, even if rapidly so. We experienced the forming stage of becoming acquainted, getting to know each other and determining who had taken road trips in the past and could provide valuable context for the assignment. The storming stage experiencing some mild conflict, beginning with how we were going to make our trip plan and then filtering through varied opinions about who wouldn’t do one activity or who didn’t eat xyz and trying to accommodate everyone in the group. The norming stage, once it was clear who the 2 leaders of the group were that would steer the direction of the assignment and confirm the acceptance of ideas into the final plan, which team members would provide the creative ideas and which ones were better taking on administrative duties. The performing stage where we really began to show cohesion and the plans started to flow more quickly. And finally the adjourning stage when the group disbanded once the project goal was reached.
Northouse (2013) as cited by PSU WC, L.9, 2017 notes, “…there are two critical functions of leadership: helping the group accomplish its task (task function) and keeping the group maintained and functioning (maintenance function)”. In this situation, the 2 leaders really helped keep the group on track in order to reach our goal in the allotted time. Without clear leaders, it would have been challenging for many of our ideas to come together into a cohesive project.
This was actually a very effective team-building exercise and as we found out after, it enabled the Director to observe who naturally took on a leadership role, who was more submissive, who encouraged group collaboration etc. Here are some other team building ideas that may be fun and effective in a group setting.
The Pennsylvania State University World Campus. (2017). Lesson 9: Team Leadership. Retrieved from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1848444/modules/items/22449207
Deluca-Smith, T. (2016, October 4). 10 Quick and Easy Team Building Exercises Part 2. Retrieved from https://www.huddle.com/blog/team-building-exercises/