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As you are aware, our company is expecting new employees in a weeks’ time and as the new manager responsible for introducing new employees to their teammates, you have a duty giving them training of how to become team players and good group communication skills. As the out going manager in that position and been well aware of you limited background in group formation and communication, I have found it necessary to write to you these memo providing details on the various aspects of group formation and communication.
The Five stages of group development
In this stage, dependence is used to characterize personal relations. The group leader provides directions and the group members depend on safe, patterned behavior. Group members have a desire to seek recognition within the group. Members will also be interested in knowing the similarities and differences that are present among themselves’. They will also start to form sub groupings that they will be using in the future. At this stage, try to keep things simple for the group members and avoid bringing up serious topics.
Stage 2: Storming.
In this stage, competition is observed and conflicts in personal relations arise. Conflicts among them occur as they try to organize for the assigned tasks. Most of group members at these stage struggle in order to fit in the group. Many questions arise at this stage about who is going to do what, rules to follow, any form of reward and so on. These kind of behaviour is a clear indication of conflicts that prevailing over leadership, structure, power and authority. Silence that may be portrayed by some group members may be as a result of discomfort they are facing within the group.
Stage 3: Norming
In this stage, the extent of cohesion is revealed by how the group members appreciate one another, community building and solving probles together. They are also interested in sharing ideas based on the facts that are given by others and there is constant asking of questions among themselves. Responsibilities are also shared at these stage based on the confidence that the group members have for each other. At this stage, members have a full sense of belonging and they feel completely welcomed in the group. The stage has one major set back in that, members are worried about the future break ups that may arise.
Stage 4: Performing.
The group is only composed of the fittest members who made it through. Since the members have been together since the beginning, they tend to bond very strongly. Tasks can be conducted individually, in groups or as a whole unit. Members highly depend on each other in solving problems. Here, every member appreciates the other and the mood is that of brothers and sisters.
Stage 5: Adjourning.
This is the final stage which is characterized by termination of the various activities and parting from relationships. Here members are recognized for their participation. The best thing to do at this stage is to come up with a mechanism that will ensure that this termination is a healthy one and no one is hurt.
Formation of relationships in a group
For relationships to be formed in group, the members must be aware of their attitudes, behaviors and their ability to change their attitudes. Relationships are either balanced or unbalanced. A balanced state is said to exist when all relationships are positive and negative relationships exist when there is uneven number of negative relationships.
The Role of group communication
Group communication involves the transfer of information among members and also the co-construction of meanings that will enhance or bedevil the group. A group can be said to be a so-construction of the communication among its members. In a group, lines of communication must be open to everyone. Ideally, every member of a group must be in a position to talk with, listen to and give feedback to everyone else in a group in order for the communication to be group communication.
Barriers to good communication
Physical barriers which may be comprised of marked boundaries, closed office doors or screen separating persons of different status. Large or isolated working areas
Perceptual barriers:- These is related to how different people view the world around them. Definitely every one has different perception regarding the world around them which may interfere with communication.
Emotional barriers: - These are greatly influenced by fears, mistrust and suspicion.
Cultural barriers: - It is obvious that each group has diverse culture in terms of people who make it. The period of getting used to this diverse culture may hinder communication.
Language barriers: - definitely, two people using different languages can not communicate with each other.
Gender barriers:- This is mostly affected by speech pattern differences between the two genders.
Interpersonal barriers: - May arise when a person distances himself from others due to personal reasons.
Techniques to overcome communication barriers and enhancing group communication
Try to keep the massage easy and simple to understand. Deliver the most important message leaving the less important. Avoid forcing people who are unwilling to listen to pay attention. Make written messages visually appealing and easily understood. Encourage a two way communication. Use a language that is understood by the majority. Ensure you’re visible when addressing your audiences. Ensure that the senior and the juniors are well informed without any discrimination. Use sign language where necessary. Have confidence when addressing your audience.