3 Skills to Boost Group Performance

16270 2020-01-15 23:48

Working together is very important. Even a genius like Turing needs others’ help to crack the Enigma code. But what is the key factor in team success? Many people believe it is the skills and abilities of team members. Well, the truth may surprise you.

At the beginning of the book The Culture Code, the author introduces a funny competition held among groups of kindergartners, business school students, and lawyers in which the participants need to create the tallest possible structure with uncooked spaghetti, tape, strings, and a marshmallow. Unexpectedly, the game ends with the triumph of kindergartners. How can it happen? When looking back, we discover that business school students usually analyze the problem first, discuss the right strategy, and quietly form a hierarchy. At the same time, kindergartners just start experimenting together and keep trying.

From the different approaches, we can see a good group culture, which can boost the overall performance values, more internal interaction and communication than the skills of group members.

There are three skills to create this kind of group culture.

1. Create a safe working environment

People can perform at their best in a familiar environment, and that’s why creating a safe working environment is so crucial. The sense of safety usually comes from internal familiarities and connections. If you want to make others feel relaxed and safe, it’s essential to let them know you are paying attention to what they have to say. Sometimes, proper feedback is needed too, which can both increase interactivity and let people feel they are needed.

2. Show your vulnerabilities to build trust

Although it might sound strange, showing your vulnerabilities actually helps to improve the group performance. We always look at the ways people around us behave and pick up some patterns. Admitting your shortcomings to others indicates they can do the same too. And this will enhance the mutual trust within the group.

Meanwhile, sharing vulnerabilities also conveys the expectation of cooperation. When group members know you rely on their help, they can feel comfortable to rely on you in return. Then everyone is going to know he or she does not have to handle everything on their own.

3. Establish a common purpose and emphasize

The pursuit of a common goal is critical to group performance. The common goal refers to beliefs and values behind people’s actions. Gabriele Oettingen, a psychology professor at New York University, has proved in several studies that, communications over the common purpose can help to unite members and achieve goals.

Repetition is necessary for emphasizing the common purpose within the group. You can put it over again and again in regular meetings or make it into short tag lines. Repeat ten times or a hundred times if necessary.


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