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After much discussion it was agreed that the group was very important, that
the members only needed me to book the room and make sure there was
coffee and cookies and, for darn sure, to keep my mouth shut. I did and the
group, much to my amazement, began to work superbly. There was a great
deal of talk among the mental health professionals at the hospital about what
a wise young man I was and how much potential I had.
Word got back to the two professionals that the group was going very
well without them and that a lowly student
was working
magic. They both came back to the group, the group stopped function-
ing well because they inhibited its development, and I learned a valuable
set of lessons about groups. They are:
￿ Too many leaders may create conflict.
￿ Leadership requires cooperation and acceptance of group goals.
￿ Sometimes group members can develop their own style without you
doing anything.
￿ Give a group an assignment and they may surprise you by doing it
well with very little interference on your part, but let them know you
can help if they need it.
￿ Asking a group what they want your role to be is often a very good
strategy.
￿ Keeping silent, or at least talking as little as possible, may be a very
effective way to run groups since it forces groups to develop their
own unique style.
￿ You can never know enough about groups, and time should be spent
in learning about group dynamics and group strategies.
me
...
...
You be the Manager
You have overall supervisory responsibility for a staff of 50 professionals
in a community drug and alcohol treatment center. You have been
receiving complaints from the professional staff that whenever a support
staff member misses a day or takes sick leave or vacation time, no one
provides services in place of the missing support staff member. In the
past, the agency has had floaters who take over when a support staff
member is gone, but agency budget constraints have made that policy
impossible to continue. Support staff had been good about covering for
one another in the absence of a staff member. However, low morale and
the lack of decent salary increases had begun to eat away at cooperative
efforts, and, as complaints from the professional staff have increased,
you've decided to institute a more specific plan which assigns coverage
whenever a staff member is gone.
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