Good Group Characteristics

Based on my experience, groups are more viable if their participants are reliable, communicate skillfully, support others in the group, and work together to develop, maintain, and renew the group’s work. Good group characteristics include:

  • Being open, inclusive, culturally appropriate, and democratic in order to help people feel welcome, safe, and informed, to foster trust and empowerment, and to encourage people to tell their story, express their beliefs, share knowledge, and work together – strengthening involvement, participation, and commitment
  • Cooperatively identifying common vision, purpose, and goals
  • Allowing differences of opinion to be discussed, handling conflict directly and civilly
  • Examining biases and barriers that may be blocking progress, and then working to change or overcome them
  • Continuing to clarify expectations of individuals and of the group, revisiting purpose and renewing commitment
  • Developing a schedule and rhythm that works best for the group
  • Celebrating individual and group accomplishments, and finding renewal in relationships
  • Encouraging and empowering members to learn new skills and share roles and decision-making
  • Leveraging the assets and gifts of civic, cultural, historical, political, community, and environmental contexts
  • Drawing leadership, knowledge, talent, strengths, and resources from relationships with government, business, faith communities, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, and resourceful individuals as needed