Term Paper: Managing Tasks in a Group

Pages: 5 (1430 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business - Management  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] According to Schwartz (1994) the facilitator's job is to:

lead the group process help them improve the way they communicate help the group examine and solve problems

Assist on making decisions sound decisions based out he problem and not on the dynamics of the group.

Good facilitators serve much the same task as marriage counselors or diplomats. They can help groups stay on task, be more creative, use their skills efficiently, and remain more productive than they would be without such help.

According to Schwartz (1994) the facilitators are guided by three core values Facilitators need to ensure that the group is working with valid information. Valid information means that everyone involved in the group has access to all information relevant to an issue. Being the person who validates information also carries with it the responsibility that all the members of the group understand the information and its implications. They need to verify that free and informed choices are being made based on information and the goals of the group rather than the group making decisions on the basis of group politics, or personal influence. Free and informed choice means that each participant has the ability to define their own goals and select their own paths toward achieving them. In a group of powerful people, keeping the group focused on maintaining open communication can be one of the facilitator's most difficult tasks. The facilitator must also work to maintain a level of intrinsic commitment to the first two values as the work group pursues its goals. The intrinsic commitments to the choices which are made mean that people feel personally responsible for the choices. This type of commitment results because people are happy with the decision and their involvement in it rather than supporting a decision out of possibility of reward or punishment.

A facilitator needs to help the members of the group determine, set, and/or alter their goals as the work group moves forward. The facilitator can assess whether a particular option or decision moves the group toward those goals. But the facilitator needs to remember, and build his position in the group to enforce that the ultimate decisions are up to the parties themselves. When these core values are put together, they reinforce each other, and empower the members of the group to make an informed choice which represents the contributions of their separate skills.

In order to operate in the role of a facilitator, the person should have a variety of skills and techniques. Strong verbal and analytical skills are essential for the person to be able to engage the process while at the same time remain an impartial member. Facilitators must know what questions to ask, when to ask them, and how questions should be structured to get the individual members to fully engage the process in spite of what may be their own personal agendas. Facilitators must also know how to probe for more information when the initial issues seem to not provide the details and information which the stakeholders need in order to create informed progress. Often in the case of a workgroup which is given an assigned problem to solve, the issue has been forwarded to a group because individual answers were not successful. Therefore the facilitator must be able to data mine. The facilitator will not extract information form a data base, but rather from individuals.

Finally, a facilitator will be even more effective is he or she is aware of personality styles which are part of each individuals unique makeup. Often described as letters, compared to animals, or demonstrated in quadrant graphs, individuals will have distinct patterns by which they communicate. These communication / personality styles also affect the person's choices of priorities. (Littauer, 1998) The person may be willing to live and die on one issue which seems important only to him because of his own personality style. The facilitator should be familiar with the synergism of the four personality styles in order to assist the members to communicate on a professional level, and gain understanding of each other when priorities and styles are different.

Littauer, Florence and Marita. (1998) How to Get along with Almost Anybody. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books

Schwartz, Roger M. (1994) The Skilled Facilitator: Practical Wisdom for… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Managing Tasks in a Group.  (2004, May 24).  Retrieved June 19, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/managing-tasks-group/2378579

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"Managing Tasks in a Group."  Essaytown.com.  May 24, 2004.  Accessed June 19, 2019.