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Group dynamics are complex and can be very intimidating. But in life you have no choice but to sometimes work with others. Be it at school or at work, you’ll have to work with other people who you may not like or even know. The good news is that there is always a way to make it work, even with people who don’t like to get along. Here’s how:

Create rules of engagement

A group dynamic cannot function without rules. That would simply be setting yourselves up for failure. Create rules of engagement first. And have everyone commit to them. Because everyone will participate in making the rules and because the majority will be in support of them, everyone will have to commit. These rules will ensure that people interact with respect. But most importantly, there will be order and everyone will know what to do and what not to do.

Relegate queries to authority

People are bound to have issues or problems with each other in a group. To avoid clashing with each other and making matters personal, have all queries relegated to the authority in the group, e.g. group leader. The authority will take on queries and provide a way forward. This will help to avoid direct conflicts among members. For example, if you want to question another member’s point of view, make your argument to the authority and let them decide which opinion to favor, whether to call a vote, etc. This will keep you from clashing with the member whose opinion you’re opposing.

Don’t expect everything to go your way

When you’re in a group, there are so many factors at play and they all can’t be in your favor. So be prepared to win some and lose some. Don’t expect everything to go your way. And don’t try to strong-arm your way into anything. Let the rules of engagement propel group decisions whichever way they may. This is vital in order to avoid conflict or to avoid members ganging up against you.

Understand other people’s point of view

It’s also vital to try and understand other people’s points of view whenever you’re interacting with them. Sometimes there is no right or wrong answer – just different opinions. Understanding other people’s opinions means giving them credit and not trying to change their ideas especially if they bear logic.

Agree to disagree

And lastly, don’t get into heated arguments especially where both opinions are strong and sensible. It is always much easier to agree to disagree. That means that everybody wins. Each party maintains their argument without discrediting the other. Agreeing to disagree allows the argument to be shelved and probably revisited at a later date. And if on that later date there’s a deadlock again, the argument can be shelved once again. This strategy prevents arguments from spilling over into physical fights.

You can apply these approaches to any group dynamic, be it school, work or even at home. They’ll keep members in check and enable you all to make some progress on the agendas being worked on.

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