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?