Two Characteristics to Support an Effective Group
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It is essential for a leader to possess refined interpersonal skills. As Corey et al. (2010) explain, “counseling focus on interpersonal process and problem-solving strategies that stress conscious thoughts, feelings and behavior” (p. 14). In my understanding, social skills that enable a person to communicate and interact with others are called interpersonal skills. Active listening (listening to a person without biases), persuasion (communication intended to induce belief or action), and delegation (authorizing subordinates to make certain decisions) are my strengths, and I think they are the core variables for a leader. Shechtman and Toren (2009) pointed out in their study that a leader behavior with positive interpersonal skills results in gains in interpersonal relations.
Courage and resolution are major deal sealers when it comes to effective and efficient leadership style. Every goal is a commitment; hence, a leader must take full responsibility of reaching certain goals with the cooperation and participation of other members. However, on one’s way to achieving goals there can happen mistakes and failed attempts. A courageous leader demonstrates his/her readiness to fail at times, admitting mistakes and imperfections and taking the same risks he/she expects group members to take (Corey et al., 2010, p. 31). This kind of leadership style is referred to democratic leadership (Cherry, 2006).
Two Characteristics Challenging the Effectiveness
In order for a me to understand one’s problem, I must explore my difficulties on both cognitive and emotional level. However, developing a deep understanding of one’s struggles and staying emotionally stable is not always easy, which is an aspect I know I have to nurture with experience and in time. If I am incapable of maintaining my own emotional equilibrium, then I am in no condition to assist group members who are having emotional difficulties, which is expected in a group heterogeneous regarding class, gender, religion, race and culture (Bemak, & Chung, 2004). Furthermore, the value of empathy, or the ability to understand and enter another person’s feelings without detaching one’s own, is eminent in leadership. In my opinion, it is crucial for every leader in a group to recognize, understand and process the emotional struggles of individual group members, and eventually facilitate the procedure in overcoming such difficulties. This is one of the major characteristics of a functioning group, as discussed by Corey et al. (2010, p. 237).
Apart from emotional stability, assertiveness is another aspect that I need to develop for improved leadership style. For a chosen leader, the likelihood to disseminate the assertive behavior to the rest of the team is high because members have a tendency to adopt behavioral patterns of the leader whom they trust and depend on (Corey et al., 2010, p. 88). Being assertive means having to be aggressively self-assured in one’s decisions, actions and even mode of communication, which does not happen at all times, because the line between being self-confident and pushy is fragile. In time and with the right mindset, I will be able to demonstrate proper assertiveness and exhibit it when necessary.
Impact on Culture
In order for leadership to be effective in any setting, it has to be multiculturally competent (Bemak, & Chung, 2004). The first step towards being a culturally competent leader is being aware of one’s own cultural values and biases. Arredondo et al (1996) specified that emerging leaders should know that culture cannot be separated from existing beliefs, knowledge, skills and attitude. Without doubt, I agree with their view on culture and its immense significance for effective leadership. For me, paying attention to the diversity that exists in a group, whether implicit or explicit, is not enough. The bigger task at hand is for a leader to see the diversity from a multicultural viewpoint. It is especially helpful in the counseling group I handle in a drug and alcohol facility. Granting the diversity of member population, a leader like me needs to be directive and should be less formal in a way that should not offend people’s individual cultures (Page, Campbell, & Wilder, 1994). In fact, group interactions are working much better if culture is not only recognized and tolerated, but also respected.
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