Constructive and Destructive Group Behaviors

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A list of constructive and destructive group behaviors.

Constructive and Destructive Group Behaviors

One suggested exercise: Have each student in a group share with their group one constructive and one destructive behavior they have found in themselves. Can be used at group formation or mid-project as a reflection.

Adapted from Brunt (1993). Facilitation Skills for Quality Improvement. Quality Enhancement Strategies. Madison, WI

Constructive Group Behaviors

  • Cooperating: Is interested in the views and perspectives of the other group members and is willing to adapt for the good of the group.
  • Clarifying: Makes issues clear for the group by listening, summarizing and focusing discussions.
  • Inspiring: Enlivens the group, encourages participation and progress.
  • Harmonizing: Encourages group cohesion and collaboration. For example, uses humor as a relief after a particularly difficult discussion.
  • Risk-Taking: Is willing to risk possible personal loss or embarrassment for the group or project success.
  • Process Checking: Questions the group on process issues such as agenda, time frames, discussion topics, decision methods, use of information, etc.

Destructive Group Behaviors

  • Dominating: Takes much of meeting time expressing self-views and opinions. Tries to take control by use of power, time, etc.
  • Rushing: Encourages the group to move on before the task is complete. Gets "tired" of listening to others and working as a group.
  • Withdrawing: Removes self from discussions or decision-making. Refuses to participate.
  • Discounting: Disregards or minimizes group or individual ideas or suggestions. Severe discounting behavior includes insults, which are often in the form of jokes. 
  • Digressing: Rambles, tells stories, and takes group away from the primary purpose.
  • Blocking: Impedes group progress by obstructing all ideas and suggestions. "That will never work because…"