Adopting a group perspective can be very helpful to members and leaders, especially at this stage. If the events of Stage 2 are viewed from this perspective, they are understood very differently. Rather than feel personally attacked, a leader, with a group perspective, could view the attack as a sign that the group is ready to define its structure further. The leader would view his role at this stage as a focus or catalyst for continued development. They would not feel threatened by the loss of some power or influence. Instead, the leader might view this redistribution of power, roles, and tasks as essential to group productivity and goal achievement.

In like fashion, a member whose views are challenged by others could see the challenges necessary to establishing shared goals and integrated group culture and social structure. Instead of reacting defensively, the member might focus on clarifying their views and the views of others in an attempt to gain consensus. A group perspective makes it possible for individuals to view conflict as ordinary and necessary at this stage of group development.

In real situations, I have, on numerous occasions, seen the positive effects of adopting a group perspective. If a group that is stuck in the conflict stage can adopt a group perspective, it may be able to free itself and move to higher developmental stages. Then, the first step is to learn- ing about group development and dynamics. Simply knowing about these phenomena, however, is not enough. Leaders and members must be able to give up blaming each other to begin to resolve the conflicts. This is not easy. Even though we know intellectually that conflict, attacks, and disagreements are common and necessary parts of group development, we may feel hurt or angry on an emotional level. Our emotions may overwhelm us and lead us to seek revenge or retribution rather than reconciliation and consensus. In many cases, group members and leaders would instead get even than succeed.

Act in Ways That Facilitate Open Discussion and Resolution of Conflicts Regarding Values, Goals, and Leadership

Conflict resolution increases group cohesion and trust, making it possible for the group to focus on strategies to achieve shared goals. In short, it moves the group in the direction of the third stage of group development. Some methods to manage conflict were discussed in the previous chapter. They have been briefly outlined again here because both members and leaders are responsible for exploring and resolving disputes.

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