GSI Series – The Constructive Cluster

Similar to individuals, groups may be characterised by their distinct patterns of behaviour. These patterns of behaviour or ‘group styles’ are reflected in the way group members approach a particular task or problem and work with each other as a team. Because groups are made up of individuals, the styles adopted by a group are directly related to the styles exhibited by each of its members.

In this three-part Group Styles series, we will break down the different clusters (Constructive, Passive/Defensive and Aggressive/Defensive) looking at the different characteristics each group may possess.

The Constructive Cluster

The Constructive cluster includes styles that emerge in groups that show a balanced concern for getting the job done (task skills) and for satisfying the needs of individual members (people skills).

The Constructive styles enable groups to tap into the full potential of their members and produce effective solutions. Members of groups with these styles express an appropriate amount of concern for the group as a working unit. In other words, they do not put themselves and their interests above the group, nor do they assume a position subordinate or subservient to the group.

Basic characteristics of Constructive groups include:

  • A tendency toward consensus decision making (i.e producing decisions that all members can support)
  • The ability to generate solutions that are generally superior to those group members could develop independently
  • A high level of enjoyment and satisfaction on the part of group members
  • A tendency to view the group process as a way of increasing both individual and organisational effectiveness

The Constructive Cluster is broken up into the below styles:

Humanistic-Encouraging groups are positive, sensitive and supportive of members;

  • Communication is supportive and constructive
  • The group is helpful to members in crystallising their ideas
  • Members are interested in each other’s growth and development

Affiliative-orientated groups have a climate of being very friendly, cooperative and relaxed;

  • Discussion is relaxed and open
  • People really listen to one another
  • Members are strongly committed to the group and solutions generated

Achievement-oriented groups are concerned with getting things done and performing well;

  • Group sets goals and works toward them
  • Alternatives are carefully analysed with the goal in mind
  • Members view the group’s solutions realistically; they accept it, but are aware of any possible limitations

Self-Actualising groups tend to be optimistic, interested, and show enthusiasm about new and unusual perspectives;

  • Conflicts and differences are used to generate better ideas
  • Problems are viewed positively as interesting and challenging tasks
  • Members of the group pursue a solution with flexibly and spontaneity

Constructive styles have been shown to be more productive and effective than the others, leading to high-quality decisions to which members are strongly committed.

As Corinne Canter spoke about in her presentation at this year’s Culture and Leadership Conference, the Rolling Stones are a working team and a high performing team at that. Having played together for 50 years and with a total of $240 Million albums sold, each member has a complementary skill with a specific job to do in achieving a shared purpose. Their success lies in the chemistry and synergy of the group.

We give 8 tips to for building an effective team


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