Assign a group member the role of “devil’s advocate”. A devil’s advocate points out the potential objections and concerns about an analysis or solution. Sometimes they assume the role of an opponent or a very tough critic.
Having a “devil’s advocate” helps the group to better crystallize its ideas. The advocate encourages the group to test the soundness and viability of its plan. At the very least, the advocate will be able to identify potential resistance points.
Increase your influence in a group by volunteering for auxiliary tasks such as planning logistics, preparing materials or making contacts with key individuals. This is especially well suited to introverts who may need more time feeling comfortable in a group and may not feel comfortable verbalizing their thoughts.
These activities may seem secondary to participating in verbal discussion and decision-making, but they help to increase your credibility and goodwill by demonstrating a willingness to work for the good of the group.
When working in a group, ask all members to prepare a “Personal Instruction Manual”. Almost every product we buy comes with a guide covering assembly, use and warnings. Similarly, each group member could prepare a manual about how to best work with him or her. You might include such things as pet peeves, personality tendencies and time constraints.
The more group members know about each other, the more they’re likely to understand and anticipate team members’ reactions, concerns and objections. You can use the information to motivate group members and better manage conflict, resulting in greater group harmony.