Group leadership and conflict summary
|Topics:||Leadership, Communication, Community, Social Psychology|
Table of Contents
Communicating in small groups involve people with a common goal or objective meeting to discuss the way forward. Small groups consist of 2-15 members who communicate and work interdependently; that is, the decisions made by a single member will influence or have an impact on the rest of the group’s members. Group discussions are important for they enable the members to exchange ideas and obtain information that assists them to solve complex issues (Beebe & Masterson, 2015). Before the group discussion begins, it is crucial to determine the intent or purpose of the meeting to guide the members and enable them to prepare adequately. The topic should be clear and precise to avoid confusion in the meeting. The small group should have a leader, who leads and guides the members throughout the meeting’s proceedings. Before the discussion of the topic, the members should first state what they already know on the issue to be discussed, and its general view to help them understand the purpose of the meeting. The leader should ensure that he or she communicates the topic in advance; that is, one week or month before the group meeting to promote effective preparation among the group members.
The Preparation by Members
Effective preparation by the members is crucial since it ensures the discussion is carried out smoothly without any challenges. Actions by the members indicating how they are well prepared for the meeting to include members, being punctual in arriving at the discussion venue. It is through punctuality that the group members have adequate time to discuss on the topic and generate solutions. The members coming to the discussion with the relevant material is also a sign of effective preparation. The materials required for the discussion will depend on the topic or purpose of the meeting, for instance, a learning group will require members to come with the relevant books to cater for research. Communication of the topic before the meeting also ensures members study on it to obtain some general information to share in the discussion. This is also a crucial indication of members’ preparedness for the meeting.
Participation in the Discussion
Members’ participation is an important part of the small group’s discussion, for it is through the participation that members can share ideas and exchange knowledge. Participation includes asking and answering questions, giving suggestions, conducting research on challenging topics and guiding members on the steps to follow. Each member is expected to contribute to the topic during the discussion since all the members of the group are familiar with one another. This familiarity is critical for it enables the member to be free with each other; hence, there is no fear among them. Despite the members of the group having a common objective, during the discussions, there may be different suggestions given by members, which may lead to conflict. It is the duty of the leader to analyze the suggestions and ideas given by the members and arrive at a conclusion. The conclusion is based on majority, where the member’s vote and the idea supported by most of the members declared the binding solution to the conflict.
Positive Group Climate
Small groups are expected to have rules that must be followed by every member during the discussions. The rules or norms are critical since they determine the members’ behaviors when discussing on different topics. The guidelines state on the way things should be done and the allowed behaviors by members. For instance, the regulations may require each member to talk for only two minutes during the discussions when giving a suggestion. The norms ensure the group members work together contributing to a positive climate of the group’s discussion. Where the norms are effectively applied, it is likely for the group to have a productive discussion; that is, each member contributes to the topic, and arrives at a solution or conclusion. There are several strategies, which when used during discussions may lead to an increase in productivity or outcome of the meeting. A major strategy is the development of a structured plan having the steps to be followed in arriving at a solution. The plan must involve all group members for it to be effective. Another strategy is ensuring members exchange contact information such as phone numbers to facilitate in discussions despite the members’ differences in geographical location. This strategy will enable the discussions to be a continuous process even when the members are not together physically.
Planning a Playground
Issues in the Meeting
This video is about a group that met to discuss the introduction of a new playground. The group members were meeting for the first time, and therefore, the discussion seemed to be challenging for they were not familiar to one another. The group leader, Dave, guided the members by conducting the meeting where he began by allowing the members to introduce themselves. After the brief introduction, he went straight to the meeting’s agenda, which was about planning a new playground (Holubec & Goins, 2010). Although the meeting had a healthy discussion, there were issues or challenges faced by the members. Since the members were meeting for the first time, there was fear since they did not know each other at a personal level; hence, there was fear among them when raising their contributions. Dave failed to give them more time during the introduction stage to allow for more bonding, and this led them not to be free with each other. Another issue is that the members failed to research on the topic before the meeting affecting the discussion. Due to the lack of research, the members had no information or ideas to share regarding the budget for the playground’s construction, and also the source of funding for the playground’s equipment.
Positives from the Group
Despite the challenges the group faced, it performed well in some areas during the discussion. For instance, they selected Dave as their group leader, who on the other hand, led the meeting well guiding the new members on the group’s agenda. Having a common objective is another area the group did well, for it is crucial for a group to have a common identity, which defines its goals and objectives. During the discussion, cooperation among the members was evident, where they gave each other time to contribute ideas leading to effective communication.
Type of Conflict
The conflict evident in this group is constructive since the members come together to discuss each of them knowing the result, which is the construction of a playground. They discussed the various issues involving the playground such as financial and equipment issues (Holubec & Goins, 2010). The financial issues involve the budget required for the development of the playground, and the sources of the funds required. They also stated on the finances of the playground’s equipment and where to acquire them.
Communication is part of the key indicators of the group since all the members were new. This is because as the meeting went on, the discussion became healthy where they could communicate freely giving their suggestions regarding the subject matter. Another key indicator is the cooperation between the members and the group leader. Dave gave each member time to communicate on the topic while the rest of the members listened attentively. They all gave suggestions, which were analyzed effectively leading to the arriving of a conclusion. If the situation were to be handled differently, then it would be crucial to allow the relevant authority to carry out the construction of the playground. This is because if it is done at the individual level, the activity would be more expensive than when handled by an institution or government. Therefore, the budget suggestions of the meeting would be directly handled by a relevant institution, to cater for the playground’s construction.
The Politics of Sociology
Issues in the Group
The major issue in this group is that the members did not know the topic of discussion and the group’s objectives. This led to conflicts and disruptions, where some of the members including a lady, failed to give their suggestions during the meeting. The group members were not compatible with each other for they failed to arrive at a conclusion since all wanted to give their suggestions at the same time. The group leader failed in ensuring the members knew on the topic of discussion and failed to ensure there was order during the meeting. The only good thing in the meeting is the presence of the members who tried to bring the meeting to order by persuading other members to keep calm and address their issues without shouting.
Type of Conflict
The type of conflict portrayed in the meeting is a deconstructive conflict for it leads to negative results (Verba, 2015). The members failed to generate a conclusion due to the lack of unity and order during the meeting. Some of the members wanted the group to implement their ideas and ignore other suggestions, which were the better option. For instance, during the meeting, the youthful teacher was persistent in pushing his suggestion on the construction of a new class and therefore, ignoring the main agenda of the group. On the other hand, there was a lady who insisted on her idea regarding statistics and numbers forcing the members to accept her idea. The two members; that is, the teacher and the lady, became noisy both pushing for their agendas, therefore, leading the group to deconstructive conflict.
The leader of this group failed on his role in guiding and regulating the members. The leader should be strict and follow the group’s rules, by allowing a single member to give suggestions followed by another. The leader should ensure all the members know on the intent of the meeting and are well informed of the group’s goals and objectives (Hybels, 2014). The group leader should also act as a mediator; that is, whenever there is conflict among members, he or she should solve the conflict by being a neutral party.
If the team situation is to be handled differently, it would be crucial to appoint a competent leader who follows the law. It would also be important to ensure the members are guided by the norms, which govern the group, and any member who fails to conform to the laws must be punished or penalized. It would also be important to ensure the members are well aware of the topic of discussion and all are given time to address their suggestions, after which they will arrive at a conclusion.
- Beebe, S. A., & Masterson, J. T. (2015). Communicating in Small Groups.
- Holubec, R., & Goins, R. (2010). Group Communication Video Cases Planning a Playground: Diversity and Communication Styles. Group.
- Hybels, S. (2014). Communicating Effectively. McGraw-Hill Higher Education.
- Verba, S. (2015). Small Groups and Political Behavior: A Study of Leadership. Princeton University Press.