Group Flow

When Was The Last Time You Watched Peak Performance?

Have you ever been watching a sports team, and you can see their performance improving on the pitch. Players in sync with each other, everything looks easy, and peak performance is happening. This is Group Flow

From a business setting point of view, the potential advantages of getting teams into synergy cause improved levels of performance and creativity and a reduction in production costs and absenteeism (Delarue, Van Hootegem, Procter, & Burridge, 2008; Larson, 2010; Richter, Dawson, & West, 2011).

group flow Is THE GOAL FOR TEAMS.

I have spoken about the benefits of flow states is here; I strongly recommend that you take a read here. This state is highly advantageous to performers.

What Is Group Flow

Group flow is down to both how the individual experiences group flow and from a collective perspective.

The research has shown that there are demining factors of group flow and how this leads to creating successful teams. What is great news is that studies show that glow flow can happen in varying environments and situations—excellent news for business leaders and sports coaches. There seem to be particular components to this from an individual and group point of view. You can read more about individual flow here.


  • Loss of self-consciousness
  • A feeling of part of a group, sense of requirement and need,


  • Knowing the other skill sets of the individual in the group (Kaye & Bryce 2012
  • Effective communication (Kaye, 2012)
  • Trust within the group (Armstrong, 2008)
  • Positive outcomes – well-being and success

10 Things To Encourage Group Flow

1. Set Clear Goals

The same as with individual flow, we need to set clear goals in team situations. Unclear objectives in business seem to be a significant problem of ineffective performance.

What are we going to do?
How are we going to do it?

2. Close Listening

Engagement with staff and sometimes athletes can be tough to do at specific points. However, full engagement is key to this process. We need to listen to understand, not listen to the response. This is both the role of the speaker and also the listener.

3. Complete Concentration

Alongside engaged listening, complete concentration is an essential part of the process. In flow states, the immersion of the activity is critical. “Flow follows focus” is a term that Steven Kolter (Flow Collective Research) uses to highlight this. Business leaders need to identify times and locations for group flow. Allowing colleagues to connect before encouraging concentration.

4. Sense of Control

Daniel Pink, in his book Drive, talks about autonomy, mastery and purpose as the three many drivers for motivation. Relating back to the individual in the group and group. There needs to be both a sense of control in the individual and an ability to change and remain adaptable to the new ideas in the group. The most successful teams do this all the time, the best teams have the ability to react to different challenges.

5. Combing Egos

There is no one person bigger than the group. If you think about sport and musically bands, how often do we see this in terms of an individual’s ego becoming most significant to the group?

6. Equal Participation

Everyone has a job to do, and that needs to be respected. However, it is essential that in those roles, the skill level is equal. This allows people to work together and the combination of egos.

7. Familiarity

Psychologists have found that when a sports team is more familiar with teammates, they perform better. In work environments, teams are more productive and make effective decisions. This is where a common language can, and creating team rules can help.

Familiarity with another’s communication style also helps with communication speed and ultimately immediate feedback, critical to flow, as Csikszentmihalyi’s research highlighted.

8. Communication

Clear, concise and constant communication is required to create group flow. It’s essential to make sure that the goal of the session, meeting, project is clearly communicated and constantly reminded.

9. Forward momentum

We need to find progress. A feeling of progression helps motivation as it is moving us closer to mastery.

10. Failure is not the opposite of success

High performer teams see every failure as an opportunity to learn and develop. Yes, there are times of disappointment, but world-class teams in sport and business debrief and discuss how to improve.

Summary Of Group Flow

Group flow is one of the best states that a performer can experience. As a business leader or coach, that is the goal. Once this state occurs, performance improves, motivation increases and fatigue decreases. Having an understanding of flow states from an individual point of view will aid in group flow. Check out our video here and listen to the podcast here. If you are interested in flow check out our other resources here.

We would love to hear from you and talk about high performance. Check out my video on a high-performance day here.

Send us a message at [email protected] or book a call


Director and Founder

Group Flow Reference

Armstrong AC. The fragility of group flow. The experiences of two small groups in a middle school mathematics classroom. The Journal of Mathematical Behavior. 2008; 27: 101–115.

Delarue, A., Van Hootegem, G., Procter, S., & Burridge, M. (2008). Teamworking and organizational performance: A review of survey-based research. International Journal of Management Reviews, 10(2), 127–148.

Kaye LK. Exploring flow experiences in cooperative digital gaming contexts. Computers in Human Behavior. 2016; 55: 286–291.

Kaye LK, Bryce J. Putting the “fun factor” into gaming. The influence of social contexts on experiences of playing videogames. International Journal of Internet Science. 2012; 7: 23–36.

Larson, J. R. (2010). In search of synergy in small group performance. New York, NY: Psychology Press

Richter, A. W., Dawson, J. F., & West, M. A. (2011). The effectiveness of teams in organizations: A meta-analysis. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 22(13), 2749–2769

Pink, D. (2009). ‘Drive,’ New York: Riverhead Books.