How To Develop Group Norms

In life, whether one is interacting with the family members, a community or a corporate office, there is always the need for a common standard of doing things. Unless one is a hermit, there is always a need for some common order of work. Ina short, there is a need for a work team standard or a norm. This norm is the basis of judging how much work is to be done under what quantity or quality standards and so on. Everyone working in the group or team must know and understand each individual’s capacity while working in the team.

One basic first step is to know every individual in the work team—his cultural background, educational levels in formal education, his physical setup, and especially his likes and dislikes. The last part is needed because others in the group also have individual likes and dislikes that may clash during work situations. It is imperative that a team leader realizes this before doing anything with and by the group. Knowing the individual characteristics and mental and physical capabilities, then they can work on an important step, which is communications, both oral and nonverbal.

As human beings, work team members communicate via voice and movements or what can be classified as behavior. Once the work team has been interacting for a while the communications factor is improved or if not can be checked from time to time for effectiveness. If some miscommunication arises it is the leader’s responsibility to check what seems to cause the miscommunication. Otherwise, the leader just continues their work but keeping an eye and ear cocked on possible miscommunication. That is why team leaders have to be themselves trained on the aspect of effective oral and written and behavioral communications, so that he can easily check any problem of interaction in his work team.

Not only members of the work team should try to communicate among each other but they should also check effective interpersonal communication with other group members and as well as with managers and employees external to the group. Indeed, they too are critical components of group functioning in a larger corporate scale. And when it gets to this size it is known as a total corporate communications system—of a company.
What should a work team include as part of their norm or reason for existence? They should consider elements like how members of a group make decisions or allocate work, and set accountability standards in order to achieve team success. It certainly is logical to safeguard the impact of effective interactions on the success of the action. Therefore, leaving group interaction to evolve by chance is risky. It therefore is wise to adopt a work group set of guidelines or group norms early to ensure group success. The following are some of the steps in the formation of group norms or standards.

Organize a team for a specific project or product development task. Then, share with each of the members the work team guidelines making sure they understand their individual responsibilities and ask for feedback to clarify the stated norms. In this way, clarity of understanding is made prior to actual operational work. Establishing work team standards is the professional way to effectively approach the management of a project.


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