When tapping group interactions to mold relationships and culture, the relational challenges center on groups naturally constraining individual expression. We frequently experience this in large meetings when no one says anything unless prompted.
Consequently, as visualized in the left schematic of the figure, every person is in his own box, his own safe space which allows withdrawal and protection by not saying or doing anything to draw attention. He isolates himself from us and the team. It’s similar to withdrawing physically when people enter his personal space. Thus, removing these boxes, as visually expressed in the right schematic, is the relational challenge.
Typically, we express feelings of constraint as peer pressure and conformity. Attendees though have many ways to rationalize them such as:
- This isn’t the time or place to ask my question.
- My comment really isn’t pertinent.
- I should have worn something more professional (or more casual).
- The presenter doesn’t really want to hear what I have to say.
- I’m wearing the same thing that person is.
- This topic really isn’t that important to me (or doesn’t apply to me).
- I didn’t want to attend; my boss told me to be here.
- They’ll probably think my comment stupid, and I’ll look foolish.
These feelings intensify with such factors as:
- Large group
- Extensive formality
- Serious occasion
- Multiple hierarchical levels present
- Many unfamiliar people
- Diverse personalities, departments, teams or culture
Whether a straight presentation or an interactive format, we can remove these boxes in such basic ways as:
- Encourage questions and comments
- Address and mention individuals by name
- Make positive references and compliments about individuals
- Reference everyone in some way either as individual or part of a team or project
Removing these boxes will foster the integration necessary to mold relationships and business cultures.
- Group Interactions, Molding Relationships and Culture
- Group Interactions, the Two Types and Their Ratio
- Attacking Relational Challenges in Group Interactions
- Initiating Questions and Comments in Group Interactions
- Encouraging More Questions in Group Interactions
- Forming and Tapping Relationships in a Group Interaction
- Leveraging Group Interactions Afterwards
- Advance Work for Positioning Group Interactions
- Leveraging Group Interactions The Complete Strategy