There are always pros and cons to social learning. The diversity and differences that make a team strong will also cause friction in social settings. Effective teams will address these issues as they develop and manage to keep the communication civil. Knowing how to create a diverse and respectful social learning team will make the experience more efficient.
Diversity Builds Knowledge
When creating social groups, it is important to make sure that they are diverse. Compiling a diverse team takes time. It is necessary to choose people with diverse cultures, skills, backgrounds, and strengths. These differences will make the team stronger. Only choosing like-minded people will weaken the team and stifle creativity. Diversity builds knowledge and challenges the team to grow. When choosing a diverse team, you need to focus on the skills that will benefit the team. For example, a team could benefit from mixing people with academic understanding of a subject and others who have real world application. It is also beneficial to blend people from different levels within the same organization.
Social settings and interactions require basic social skills. This may seem like common knowledge, but you will have to remind people to behave and assess their social skills. There are basic social skills that people need to master in order to make sure that the social interactions in the group go smoothly. Basic social skills include:
- Listen to other people.
- Express positive thoughts or feelings in a civil manner.
- Express negative thoughts or feelings in a civil manner.
- Make requests.
- Appreciate people and thank them.
If anyone lacks these basic social skills, social interactions in the team will suffer. Social skills training can improve social interactions for people who need to improve their social skills.
People Are Different
Everyone is unique. This can be both beneficial and cause problems to team dynamics. The positive aspects include:
- Creative problem solving
- Enhance synergy in teams
- Attracts talented people
- Challenges individuals to grow
The cons of having a diverse group include:
- Personality clashes
- Competition for promotions
- Competition for work
Acknowledging that there are cultural and personality differences between people and preparing for these differences will help create a functional learning team.
Dealing with Difficult People
In any social situation, you will have no choice but to deal with difficult people. People are difficult on different levels. Some may not be invested in the learning process and others will actively push back against the team dynamic.
People who passively resist social learning may refuse to participate in discussions or leave tasks incomplete. The best way to handle passive people is to address the reason behind their behavior. It is important not to push people too hard to participate. You should offer assistance as needed.
Some people aggressively resist social learning. They push back by causing trouble and trying to take over the team. Problems include verbal attacks and disruptive behavior. It is important not to take the attacks personally and to make sure that the person acting out is told that the behavior is not appropriate. If the individual become too aggressive, he or she may need to be removed from the team dynamic.