JLBC Effective Team Leadership
Manage the External Environment for the Group
One of the essential functions leaders must perform during the early stages of group development is managing the group's interaction with the rest of the organization. Later on, members will take over some aspects of this function. Initially, however, it falls to the leader to negotiate with other groups and individuals for needed resources, buffer the group from excessive external demands, and report on group progress to ensure that the group is regarded positively by the rest of the organization.
LEADERSHIP AT STAGE 2: WHEN MEMBERS BEGIN
TO DEMAND MORE PARTICIPATION IN RUNNING THE GROUP, SLOWLY BEGIN TO EMPOWER THEM TO HAVE IT
In the first stage of group development, leaders have considerable influence. Members tend to be dependent on the leader for direction and safety. Leaders have a good deal of power in the initial definition of goals and preliminary decisions about the type of group structure being established. Group members expect the leader to provide direction, safety, order, and group goals and systems. Attempts to engage members in these activities at Stage 1 would be futile.
During Stage 2, however, member expectations and reactions to the leader change quite a bit. As members become more comfortable in the group, they begin to resent what they now perceive to be an undue influence on the part of the leader. The leader's competence may be challenged. Some members may feel manipulated by the leader. The safety and competence that members perceived the leader as providing is questioned. Suspicion of and challenges to the leader's authority often occur.
Not all members become disenchanted with the leader. Some remain loyal. The group may split into two factions over this issue. One section is supportive of the leader, and the other is not. These two factions often fight about their expectations of the leader and their performance to those expectations. Some of this conflict may be due to actual leader behavior in the group. However, much of the competition is about things that go beyond the role of the leader. In essence, the conflict with and about the leader is a way for the group to discuss who can have input into decisions.