Monday, January 12, 2009

Gotta Love Groups

In reading the articles, I think about all of the different groups that I am a part of and try to identify who is who...if that makes sense. Who is the aggressor, the contributor, the compromiser, the dominator, the blocker, etc. With different groups, obviously, there are different personality traits that provide an easier definition of these roles. The difficult thing is that in a perfect world we would have groups that "storm" however, they would eventually "norm" and adjust. I feel that when there is a lack of balance in the overall dynamic of the team, we become isolated in different stages. For example, if one person can't get past the storm stage, then the rest of the group is at a stand still because there needs to be some type of group cohesion in order to move on. Otherwise, it wouldn't be a group! The lack of balance, I feel, can stem from a lack of trust, respect and/or common goals. If these feelings are not communicated, it creates a road block. In other group experiences, as a group facilitator, I see the stages well defined, even the adjourning stage mentioned in the Tuckman article. It is very interesting to see the development of a groups' personality and the roles that are either assigned or adopted by members. Having experience with both long term and short term groups, the process seems to be the same. In a 10 week group, the stages can be well defined within that time frame where in a 40 week+ group all of the same stages are addressed however the process may be elongated. The type of group is also a vital consideration. In our profession, as educational leaders, we may encounter more work groups where decisions need to be made based on data or concerns, etc. In a process group, if a specific issue is addressed or there is a certain topic, we are all already beginning on common ground potentially with similar experiences and similar feelings. Another consideration is whether a person elected to be part of this group or was required to participate. This simple piece to the puzzle can have a dynamic effect on the process itself. I think that groups are a powerful force and can be very effective with the right combination of members and a well defined purpose. As I mentioned last week, I'm excited about this class because, so far, it feels like a great combination to admin leadership and social work/counseling.

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