In this part of our series on ‘Starting and Managing a Self-Help Group’ we will focus on group establishment, leadership among other areas. If you haven’t had a chance to read parts one and two of the series click on the following links: Part 1, Part 2.
1. Establishing The Group.
- What kind of group will it be?
- How big will it be and what kind of structure will it have?
- Be flexible to other member’s ideas.
- Keep an open spirit – don’t become closed and cliquey.
- How frequently will the group meet?
- Always set an agenda, with different activities from week to week.
- Post the agenda to members.
- Accepting new members – agree on how to introduce and involve new members.
- Develop a group newsletter through social media networks such as Whatsapp or Facebook groups.
- All groups need leaders. They naturally evolve, or are elected.
- Leadership behaviour will be determined by various influences:
*Behaviour of other group members, and
*The situations facing the group.
- A good group leader :
* Communicates empathy.
* Communicates respect.
* Is concise.
* Has good listening skills.
* Is flexible and adaptable.
In a group setting, behaviour is everything. Recognise the following :
- Aggression, attempt to dominate.
- Submissiveness – can be an indirect way of seeking control.
* Greater self-confidence.
* Greater confidence in others.
* Increased self-responsibility.
* Increased self-control.
*Leads to increased chance of everyone gaining
- Groups must be sensitive, and respond to difficult behaviour from
members ‘withdrawing’, to members becoming ‘overbearing’.
- A group needs to be formal enough to be well-organised, but friendly enough to
make new members feel welcome and involved.
- A framework is needed, so that:
*Decisions can be made.
*No one person dominates the group.
*The group has stability and continuity.
*New members understand what is going on.
*New ideas can be introduced.
- Take into account:
*How big the group is?
*How large might it become?
*Are you going to restrict numbers?
*Are there professionals in the group?
*Sharing jobs out.
*Concentrating on mutual support.
*Rotating positions of responsibility.
- For groups being professionally organised and led:
*Choose a structure which allows most members to join in.
*Encourage new members to take on jobs.
*A time-limitation for the leadership?
*Keep simple records.
*Don’t let discussion of the organisation take over.
- Ask yourself three things:
*Who will be members of the group?
*What do you want to achieve?
*What activities could you undertake?
*Are you going to require subscriptions?
*What happens if people don’t pay – do they stop being members?
*Will members need to make some commitment; i.e. agreeing with the objectives of the group?
*Will they be required to attend regularly?
*Must they take on some task at some stage?