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Positive AttitudeIn a group setting, it is better to try and maintain a positive outlook than a pessimistic one as no one wants benefits from that type of attitude. In an article done by Wiley Business (1) about effective team players, it talks about being a “good team player”.  Essentially an effective team member is open to sharing experiences and knowledge they have. They make sure to keep all other members informed to prevents surprises.Be an Active ListenerBeing a good listener is vital for teams, groups, and basically any type of partnership to function well. In a group setting, it is a necessity to have good group members who can listen, empathize, and idealize points of view from others without judgement, debate or personal opinion. Being able to take criticism from others without being hurt and seeing it as constructive instead of detrimental. Have Emotional Intelligence In a study by Carnegie Mellon University, Anita Woolley and her team looked at group intelligence and how each member influences it. Woolley put “699 people in teams of two to five and got them to carry out a series of tasks, such as solving puzzles, brainstorming, typing and negotiating”(2).  In order for her study to be accurate, immediately after they were done,  the team was given a group intelligence score and were evaluated individually for their performance. What was interesting was that neither the average intellectual person or the smarted person in the group influenced the overall group intelligence.  Instead they found that emotional intelligence was more important than each member’s IQ and that the group would be more effective if each individual was more socially aware. Put aside personal agenda, set shared goalsYour team members need to have common goals and shared ambitions in order to be as efficient as possible. In an article done by the Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation, and Emergency Medicine, it referenced a series of studies done on military tactical teams that shows how important a shared mental model was.  In the study they say to “imagine an emergency response team to get a better picture of this. Team members choose their actions without explicit demands made for coordination, because they are able to anticipate both what other team members are going to do, and what the task requires”(3). I considered this to be like watching synchronized swimming as each member has an understanding of what the outcome needs to be.  In order for a group to implement a shared mental model,  it is important to communicate clearly the roles and goals the group wants to achieve. Skills For Group Decision Making Being able to function as a group is important and so is also learning how to make decisions in a group. In a study done by Sharad Shukla for the Indian Journal of Applied Research, he talks about some key vital skills for group decision making. Not in any particular order but first off it’s important to how to run and manage productive meetings. In doing so, “they ensure that meeting goals are set, that an agenda is created and followed, and that everyone has an opportunity to participate” (4).  By doing this it helps group members stay focused on the task at hand and helps ease the likelihood of getting distracted.  Another important skill is being able to give constructive feedback. Building off the tip about being an active listener,  when members feel included and accepted, they become more open to giving and receiving feedback about group ideas. Instead of focusing on who the individual is that says the comment, look at the ideas being presented  and listen to suggestions for improvement. No group can function when each member doesn’t know what their role is. Knowing which role goes to who and which person is best suited for each role is vital for helping each member become assimilated to group decisions. It is good to note that people should be willing to rotate roles to help grow their own and others’ group learning experience.  For a Productive Group ClimateIn order to achieve and maintain an effective group climate it is key to balance individual goals with team goals in order to maintain cohesion. In a study done by the University of Aberdeen, they found some key traits of groups that were able to produce a productive atmosphere. Some key aspects include support, trust and openness. In the study it talks about viewing each other as “collaborators” as it concludes that most people should instead “view one another not as competitors (which is common within a typically individualistic educational system) but as collaborators” (5). In doing so it shows that group members demonstrating a sense of support for one another as they achieve their goals which shows team loyalty and demonstrates unity. Members of the group must have mutual trust amongst each other to the extent that everyone is open, honest and yet respectful when it pertains to group work. By doing this trust also grows as group members demonstrate personal accountability for the tasks they have been assigned. In college, students are introduced to a new spectrum of people, cultures, and backgrounds they may not have experienced elsewhere.  Instead of being closed off, the study done by the University of Aberdeen stresses the importance of openness and acceptance. Being open to different viewpoints, new ideas and the variety of individuals present within the group while also being engaged in getting to know one another goes a long way in helping each member assimilate quicker and become more effective versions of themselves.

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