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Johnson County

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Johnson County
11811 S. Sunset Drive
Suite 1500
Olathe, KS 66061

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Monday - Friday,
8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

(913) 715-7000
(913) 715-7005 fax

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Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service

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Productive Groups

groupProductive groups are the foundation for accomplishing the work of formal organizations (such as clubs, councils, boards, associations, or coalitions) or less formal groups (such as task forces, committees, or project work teams). A productive group communicates with respect and openness, accepts, and supports differences, and works effectively together to achieve mutual goals. Such a group shares leadership, serves others, and is willing to take risks.

A productive group accepts and supports differences, communicates openly and with respect, and works together for mutual goals. A newly formed group often doesn’t have clear rules on what is acceptable behavior. Fear of not being accepted or respected can create problems. It is important that all group members get to know one another and feel comfortable with one another.

When it comes to group behaviors and creating productive groups it takes time. Behavior can present in a positive and negative aspect with the group. Below is a list of either builders or blockers to help move a group forward as a productive entity.

Builders vs. Blockers:

How well does your group work?



HumorNot listening
Starting on timeUnclear issues
Short meetingsDisorganized
No facilitator
CompromisingNo defined goals and objectives
Common goalsNot buying into goals and objectives
Not being involved in decision-making
CooperationImpatience with group decision-making process
Assigning a leadership role on a temporary basis (rotating facilitator)Being afraid to speak up at a meeting because of what others might say
ListeningUsing words and jargon that some members might not understand 
Having clear goals which are understood by allLack of information 
Following through and accepting responsibility No prepared agenda
Alternative ideasSuppressing conflict

Consensus decision-making
Rejecting other’s ideas without hearing them out
RespectAnimosity and dislike in the group
Defined rolesInflexible group structure 
CommitmentLack of planning
Flexible structuringTime pressures
Support for othersOutside pressures 
Facilitation rather than leadershipEgo
InitiativePushy people
Sensitivity to people’s differing needsHidden agenda/self-interest
TrustLack of well-defined roles
Being process-oriented, as well as task-oriented 
False humor or too much humor


Experts from Productive Groups-LEADS Curriculum Notebook K-State Research and Extension, 1999.