A group facilitator is totally different from a leader in function and teamwork strategy. A group facilitator is still a participant or a member of the group who serves to facilitate sharing of personal reflections, experiences and ideas. The facilitator is a person who survives with the group and intends to help a group work together to meeting a certain set of objectives or expectations instead of imposing power over the group unlike the leader. A diversified group therefore needs a patient flexible facilitator who can connect on each member of the group and who can build connections between members of the group.
The role of a great facilitator is to keep the group united and motivated in their effort to reach their goals by using creativity in working through issues, ironing out negative emotions and bringing out the best among the members of the group (Runco & Pritzker 1999). I certainly have my useful chat skills that may start them to open up some issues they were uncomfortable. The small talks will also help me determine preliminary assessment of the degree of camaraderie or relationship the group exhibits within and outside the meeting including deviant behaviors.
My perception of people existing in complete complementary with each other will greatly help me devise comments that continuously solicit the empathy of each member of the group. People moving other people needs direction and involvement of emotions to better explore options and make any tasks meaningful in their own context. Attitude is very important when it comes to facilitating group issues that will serve to draw the boundary around what they can and what they can’t control.
Given this personal perception on how to move people and my low profile attitude will help me frame the role of each person to what they can do, what they can’t do, what they like to do, what they don’t want to do and what they need to do. Tact and respect never fails to make people talk. I greatly consider each person as an important member of the team playing an important role on a variety of skills that contribute to the success of the group. This teamwork spirit will definitely lead them to explore possibilities open for them to overcome and win any defined situation facing their group.
The secret is to become their reliable understanding friend and never think of myself as above them. The ability to drive discussion, maintain group’s focus, design a response and move forward to a productive resolution are never an easy tasks. The moment any participant brings in attitude to the meeting, it also creates misunderstanding, emotionally upsets any member and perfectly subdues any member’s voice. I see the need to develop more of my listening skills and communication skills. Listening makes the person talking feel important.
This touches the ego which makes any member think and feel smart. Communication skills and use of gestures in a natural manner is very important in getting the message across clearly. The skills of initiating conversation, confidence to work on an issue, authenticity, perceptivity, flexibility and integrity are important skills I have to develop also to gain trust and keep the group life (Group n. d. ). Group dynamics for me is engaging people to discuss what they feel and think on certain issues.
What I know from my experience on people interactions is that certain behavioral patterns emerged during the discussion which is a combination of a person’s personality and experiences. Whatever may arise during the interaction largely determines the focus or direction of the group discussion, influence group productivity and affects the rate of the group’s accomplishment. I consider my knowledge and experience on typical kinds of behavior that may emerge in any group setting as an edge to create appropriate and desirable responses. Commenting is always done with tact and respect.
A person’s dominating and non-speaking ability is traceable to confidence which may be product of more or less knowledge of the topic. I have a very high initiative on gathering facts and making research including basic information on each member of the team before the meeting. Knowing what to expect will make me more confident in driving discussion and maintaining the focus of the group. Knowledge is a great tool but it is also a great weapon. I can watch, listen, post questions and drive the discussion according to the guidelines that I’ve created on how the group must proceed.
This can also be done by simply commenting on the discussion and let the group work on it. As a group leader, I have learned that the most effective way to connect to each member of the team is a natural pleasant attitude with a smile. Capture the concerns by concentrating on the emotions of the group in a light hearted manner through direct eye contact with a smile. Smile and facial expression reveals pleasant attitude. I encourage them to speak by taking notes and working on issues objectively.
Supporting everyone to do their best thinking to create solutions on problems in an analytical manner without blame is my best feature to build sustainable agreements as a group facilitator. Facilitation is an art of moving people toward agreed upon objectives based on the design and management of structures in a neutral process to help people understand their goals and motivate them to work with each other. And that art I did greatly during the group interaction. I realized that I don’t need to be perfect but I have to listen to them perfectly.