Group Dynamics and Leadership in Social Work

Do you think it is important for social workers to be able to work with groups? Why?

Social working in groups is very crucial in the sense that it facilitates individual development and growth. In most social settings, workers can evaluate the feeling, attitudes, and behavior of various individuals. In this case, one can claim that group work is relational.

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Research studies on group work have shown that social working in groups appears to be more productive as opposed to working in isolation. It is also insightful to mention that encounters faced by groups tend to shape perspectives and hence such groups tend to be less invasive as opposed to an isolated individual (Kotlyar, Karakowsky & Ng, 2011).

In addition to this, working as a group in social work practice improves an individual’s perspective towards serving the community. This is because an individual can learn from the group members on how to improve ethical skills and knowledge about the immediate environment. Therefore, group work improves individuals’ ability to perform and thus accomplish set goals in social work practice.

When you think about working with groups what do you see as challenges or rewards?

Working as a group in social work practice is succinctly rewarding in the sense that it enables one to develop a wide range of skills (Hoffman et al., 2011). Such skills are related to relationships, resource management, and understanding the psychological needs of group members and the public. Additionally, group work promotes mutual reinforcement and thus assists one to overcome the pressure that might be experienced when one person is working alone (Hoffman et al, 2011). Nevertheless, challenges are inevitable in group work. For instance, individual decision-making is discouraged especially when other members support a dissimilar idea (Kotlyar, Karakowsky & Ng, 2011). In this case, the decision made might be socially acceptable but unsatisfying from a personal point of view.

What skills and techniques should a group leader have? Think about the groups you have been involved with and the leaders you have observed. What do you think made some effective/ineffective leaders?

Some specific skills and techniques make a group leader effective. From my observation, an effective leader should be confident and trustful. Moreover, as a group leader, one should have effective communication skills (Kotlyar, Karakowsky & Ng, 2011). Critically, such traits help a leader to manage the group toward achieving the overall targets in social work practices. Nonetheless, a lack of proficient skills in communication, responsibility, resource management, and decision-making can lender a group leader ineffective.

What characteristics that you possess might help or hinder you in assuming the role of a group leader? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What skills do you need to develop fully? What do you think needs to be the best group leader possible?

Personally, there is a certain characteristic that helps me to become an effective group leader. In other words, these traits are my strengths since they are crucial in leadership. They include transparency, confidence, fairness, and responsibility. The traits are crucial in organizing and coordinating activities within the group toward laid objectives. However, time consciousness is a trait that affects my effectiveness as a group leader.

Therefore, I perceive timekeeping as a weakness and thus need to be improved. Other areas that would require Improvement include fairness, empathy, and rationality in decision making. The best group leader needs to have the personal will and be committed to facilitating all the subsequent activities in the group. Moreover, one should be able to monitor and motivate the members.

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What impact if any does the population you are/will be working within your agency or agency setting itself, have on your thinking about assuming the role of a group leader? What can you do to address any question you might have? How will it be easy, hard, or both to be a group leader in this setting?

This type of population has impacted positively on my thinking as a group leader. For instance, I need to recognize, identify, and interpret various forces affecting the population where the organization is operating. Moreover, the population has insightfully helped me to evaluate their altitude and feelings toward our social work practices. Therefore, this will not make it hard to assume the role of a group leader. This is an opportunity to mobilize the members to objectively make appropriate decisions and practices in favor of the population.

As you think about leading a group session on your own, what do you anticipate? What do you think will be easy? Challenging? What characteristics do you have that will help/hinder assuming the role of a group leader? What if anything happens? How do you prepare to meet this challenge?

Whenever I am leading a group session, I anticipate that other members should have the willingness to create beneficial relationships with each other. This will advance the responsibility of performing shared tasks effectively. One of the possible challenges could be how to develop sophisticated skills in delegated duties. To meet this challenge, I should delegate duties on a rotational basis to ensure that every member of the group achieves the expected level of competence.

References

Hoffman, B., Bynum, B., Piccolo, R., & Sutton, A. (2011). person-organization value congruence: how transformational leaders influence work group effectiveness. Academy of Management Journal, 54(4), 779.

Kotlyar, I., Karakowsky, L., & Ng, P. (2011). Leader behaviors, conflict and member commitment to team-generated decisions. Leadership Quarterly, 22(4), 666.

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