The dynamics of new groups

19th September 2012

There seems to be a remarkable amount of churn or reorganisation going on amongst our clients at the moment, and, at the same time, we enter a new a academic year. All this leads to many people  being in new groups, both as leaders and participants.

There are some particular dynamics that occur in new groups that need to be addressed, for work to be done. I myself have recently experienced this. I have just enrolled on a singing course and with a group of people I met for the first time last week. I find myself reflecting on our lessons and noticing the formation stages of this group.

I am particularly struck by my levels of anxiety, and need for leadership as a participant in this new group.  Even as an extrovert, I find myself reluctant to contribute to discussion, despite the expert leadership of the teacher. As someone who regularly leads groups, it is interesting and insightful to be in the participants shoes.

It makes me realise the wisdom of the principle ‘go slow to go fast’. As group leaders it is so important to create a safe environment at the start, and to assume a level of control initially, so that the group can function.