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Allowing Room For Group Growth

Group development is a key aspect of any team or organization, but allowing room for that growth and creating circumstances to achieve it are not always the easiest to discern. Imagine a situation where you ask a group of people to accomplish a task together that they have no experience with. You, on the other hand, are quite experienced with the task. The group begins to struggle to figure out what to do. You see some signs that individuals are getting it, but largely the group is not accomplishing the task you set out for them to complete. 

We have all had the urge to jump in and help by immediately providing the solution. While this may alleviate some personal discomfort in the short term, it does not allow the group the adequate circumstances to grow individually and together. Arguably, one of the most difficult options is not jumping in and giving the group the time and space to develop their own understandings and perspectives. Leaders that can create space, provide time, co-create knowledge, and respect tension will enable their groups to develop and grow both at a quicker rate with a deeper impact. 

Create Space

People need the space to develop and grow, similar to a plant’s roots expanding and growing over time. If you don’t ever create a space for the group to work together, then group growth will be limited to a small team and individual contributions. Creating space refers to allowing the group the opportunities to discuss and work together. Creating formal opportunities for group work and interaction as well as embracing informal opportunities enabled space to be created for the group to grow and develop together.

Give Time For Consideration

If you ask a complex or thought-provoking question and expect a response back in seconds, you may not be providing the time to think. This could also include allowing the group to talk and share in smaller groups before discussing with the larger group. This time must be balanced with the needs and time limitations of the group. Gauging the time needed is a careful process, but a good rule of thumb is the newer the information, the more time that should be provided to mull over it.

Co-Create Knowledge

Groups that co-create their understanding have a deeper grasp of the topics and concepts. Often it is a peer-to-peer explanation that is most effective in conveying information about a new lesson. When the group is aiming to achieve something together, their combined knowledge can spawn a unique approach to whatever the challenge. When in the midst of discussion, this ability to co-create is exemplified on the evolution of the conversation that deepens with each additional perspective an experience that is added to the mix. This development of something new from individuals working together as a group is a significant and symbolic process that demonstrates group growth.

Respect Natural Tension

One of the toughest elements of leading groups is respecting the natural tension that occurs when the group struggles. While the prolonged struggle is never ideal, breaking through minor struggles with one another solidifies group rapport and encourages trust in formulating grander group solutions together. There is a careful balance between establishing the space and providing the direction. At points, the group might stumble down the wrong path. It is these times that a light adjustment to the group’s approach would be warranted. If the group is spinning aimlessly and unable to focus on their objective over a significant period of time, then the direction is most likely required. If the group has trouble with short-term concerns, their ability to overcome will become an asset for group growth and development.

Leading requires creating space for others to grow and learn. When groups have space, time, tension, and work together, they grow and develop together in impressive ways. The group’s ability to overcome struggle together with smaller issues paves the way for larger problems to be tackled and overcome through team trust and the developed group dynamic. Leaders that are aware of and address these four factors will establish the ideal circumstances for their group to grow and develop meaningfully. 

*Leadership Lesson*

Think about your team or group. Which of the four factors is the most difficult for you to offer? Why? Write out three steps on how you plan to give your group that space or time. Having an action plan can help you refrain from intervening and allow your group the room they need to grow.

*Meet the Author*

Joe Pazmany is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Innovade Inc, a company focused on websites, branding, and digital marketing. Within this role he manages an exceptional team who have developed websites, built brands, designed graphics, and implemented comprehensive marketing strategies who helped over 150 businesses in the last few years of operation. He has been with Leadership Inspirations for over 12 years working with students and professionals alike to provide facilitation training and development. Joe is also completing his Doctorate (Ed.D.) in Organizational Leadership having recently completed research on how uncertainty impacts mergers and acquisitions. Additionally, he is an advisor and associate with Alchemy Associates and he teaches as a part time professor at Chapman University in the Leadership Studies program.

Favorite Quote: “A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit” – John Maxwell

Fun Facts: 1) Currently am the CEO of Innovade, a digital technology firm where I get to build new mobile app products as well as virtual reality platforms every day for work, 2) I enjoy fixing, restoring, and improving classic muscle cars and 3) Whenever I can learn a new skill or try a new activity, I jump at the chance.