I recently had the privilege of lecturing in a Sociology class at a local University on the subject of “Leading Groups”. There was already an established discussion on the purpose and various ways to establish groups. In this particular classtime, the emphasis would be on how to be an effective group leader. For the class, I chose to present the idea of an absolute oriented leader compared to a more unconditional approach, a leader who chooses to engage in the group session.
A group leader can be more effective when he or she approaches leading a group from a participants frame of mind-engage to be a listener. There are times when leadership may call on performing an absolute decision such as enforcing time constraints on discussion to stay on task; however, there are engaging approaches. A group leader can help others find appropriate ways to engage in discussion, encouraging and guiding the flow of creative ideas coming from group participants. Also, a leader can encourage participants to expand on each others ideas. Let’s briefly look at contrasting roles.
Absolute forms of leadership such as a Drill Instructor, Dictator or even an Auctioneer set courses that challenge quick decision making on behalf of each participant or else there might be negative consequences. Imagine if both leader and group participants got involved with a mind set where their thoughts were infinite or absolute. With this approach, there would be no need for a group in the first place. Everyone would be right. A more engaging and unconditional type leader such as a Motivational Coach, Pastor or Counselor would more than likely allow participants to engage. If these professions are done effectively, there is simple guidance that exist from the leader to the participant which allows them to engage together.
Regardless of why a group is formed, remember people are present to be motivated towards creating an environment that engages ideas and topics about change. Personality and sometimes emotions play a role in such engagement. If someone is leading with conduct that shows fairness, trust and encouragement, most participants will want to help create vision and positive change in the process of engagement.
© Andy L. Westbrook, Westbrook Publishing, Ink., 2009