10 Skills for Leading Groups:
Boring, disorganized, disconnected gatherings and groups—no one likes them. One person monopolizing, someone rudely disagreeing, another stonewalling and pouting, discourage.
Thankfully, leadership can help. But some leaders don’t know what they are doing and make matters worse. Here are Ten Team Leader Skills to improve your meetings of two or more people. They work at home too!
- Facilitating. The root idea of facilitate is to make something easier. Communication is difficult! Good group facilitating makes communication easier. Good facilitators start conversations then, generally, talk less than the others. They are the guide from the side, not the sage on the stage.
- Sharing. We are taught to share toys and such as toddlers. Adults sharing is more often about words, information and power—threatening!
A skillful leader shares and encourages sharing. Extroverts may over share. Introverts may under share. Both need a wise, assertive, kind facilitator get everyone to play, and share, well together.
- Question. Good leaders draw others out and guide with thoughtful questions.
Open questions encourage participants to expand their answer. Using the “news reporter” words, Who, What When, Where, Why and How help create open questions. “What would you like to talk about?” is an open question.
Closed questions can often be answered with one word. “Would anyone else like to share?” is a closed question. It can be answered with yes, no, or maybe.
- Listening. The late, great, M. Scott Peck, M.D, writes “Listening well is an exercise of attention and by necessity hard work. It is because they do not realize this or because they are not willing to do the work that most people do not listen well.”
Leaders, if you ask a question, try to listen. Listening well is the surest way to build trust and genuine caring in any relationship. “Active listening…requires that the listener fully concentrate, understand, respond and then remember what is being said.” (Wikipedia) Meeting leaders and participants can easily get distracted from active listening.
- Courage. This is bravery from the heart. The French root caries the idea of sharing “what is in one’s mind or thoughts.” The group leader is helping everyone be courageous in loving ways. “Speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) is the sign of healthy group.
- Accepting. Leaders teach group members not to gasp, role eyes, shake heads in disgust, or shout, “You’re wrong!” when we hear something with which we don’t agree. We are learning to happily accept each other as we have been “accepted in the Beloved.”(Ephesians 1:3)
- Believing. The leader believes in people and their worth. We teach and model this. We affirm the Scripture “love believes all things,” so we temper our reactions and judgments.
- Recognizing. Like a skilled auctioneer the group leader recognizes individuals in the group¾their contributions, questions and concerns. The leader fosters appreciation for contributions and teaches the group do so as well.
- Willingness. This involves open-mindedness, willingness to truly listen and exercise consideration. The growing leader models graciousness. We are unwilling to put down, block, hinder or snuff out. We are willing to bind up, fan into flame and to encourage. (see Matthew12:20)
- Vision. The leader is patiently, persistent inspiring! We have a lot to learn but imagine how great it will be if we get a little bit better at communicating.