FST 637: Group Dynamics
Philosophy of Groups When thinking of a personal philosophy of groups one must first define both the terms philosophy and groups. Philosophy can be defined as an examination of a basic concept. A group can be defined as an algebraic mathematical function set which searches for the goal of X or a set of individuals searching for a common solution to a problem, goal or an X factor. For the purpose of this discussion I will be focusing on groups as defined as set of individuals searching for a common solution to a problem or goal. I will be discussing individual learning styles, human nature and leadership, Christian values and leadership, and groups focus.
Learning Styles When discussing learning styles within a group the leader must be aware of the seven style of learning which are as stated by LearningStylesOnline.net (n.d.) “visual, aural, verbal, physical, logical, social, and solitary” (para. 3). Over time as a leader I have recognized the need of only four of the learning styles to lead, inform, and instruct groups: visual, verbal, social, and a times physical learning styles. As a leader within the workplace when leading a large group visual and verbal learning styles are usually the focus. Visually there is usually a power point presentation which could include visual handouts along with verbal discussion of the subject offered. Much like educational settings were individuals can take notes and listen. This structure for a group setting is only affective for an informational meeting format. When adding the social and physical styles of learning into the mix with verbal and visual you acquire much more knowledge from the other members of the group through discussion and at times physical demonstrations of task and role playing scenarios. It is during these forms of group settings when the leadership and group member’s human nature come into play.
Human Nature Human nature plays a large role within group setting both internally and externally. That is to say, not only does the group have to focus on its external purpose or function as a whole, it must also deal with the internal personalities and needs of each individual member. Each individual’s personality or characteristics affects their abilities within a group.
As stated in Toseland & Rivas (2012) these characteristics include each group members “interpersonal skills, access to information, and perceived responsibility for the work of the group, its motivation, and expectations” (p. 108). It is at this point, the beginning of the group at which the leader must emerge and define roles for the members of the group.
Christian Values and Leadership Throughout my career I have only been employed by either myself or a Catholic non-profit organization. My group experience has only been professional and within a religious organization. With this said, to have a group function with out Christian values is something I have never experienced. When employed for seventeen years with this religious organization, every aspect of our service was underlined with the eight core Christian values of grace, hope, faith, love, justice, joy, service, and piece. As a leader within this organization which provided residential service for those with developmental disabilities, I would find myself in conflict with fellow employee’s who were there “just for the paycheck”. As a leader within this organization I learned it was not only my responsibility to lead these individuals as a group to the goal of providing residential care. It was my responsibility as a leader to recognize the lack of Christian values within individual group members and redefine their roles within the organization to fit their needs as well as ours in the hope to provide a better service. As the leader I realized after a short period of time, I would have to interview each prospected employee to