If you are the leader of a small group there will be certain things that are expected of you. Here are some of the things that you should do as a small group leader.
Plan for meeting
This includes a number of specific steps. He should determine the purpose of the meeting and communicate that to group members. He must consider the participants for the meeting including the regular group members and any special guests. Try to decide what positions they will take, what contributions they will make, and how involved they will be. Prepare and distribute an agenda for the meeting. The most important items should be at the first of the agenda. Arrange for facilities and equipment for the meeting. Be sure you can have the room when you want it and for as long as you want it. Send notice of the meeting, and this may include reminders. Assemble any materials needed for the meeting. Prepare an outline for the discussion. This type of planning is essential. This preparation may also include visuals.
Develop a climate or atmosphere
Develop a friendly and permissive atmosphere in the group that is free from domination and threats. This kind of atmosphere encourages participation. To ensure this, the leader will want to use power sparingly. He will give permission to speak, permission to differ, and permission for the group to decide.
Many things can be done to help a group become free to communicate. The leader should use first names, and call everyone by name in each meeting. He should allow disagreement, and even encourage it. He should allow people to speak freely and without permission. He should use buzz groups, group projects, and round robin response and get every member to make a contribution. Call on quiet group members. Provide a snack time.
Develop a purpose and goals
A parent organization may establish the purpose for a small group, but they should have a voice in the goals. A strong leader may determine group goals, but this can be a mistake. Recognize that informal group goals exist and they may be different from the formal goals of the organization. When they are different, it will cause conflict. Members will always support goals more if the goals of the group are compatible or the same as the goals of the individuals in the group and if they have a voice in determining what the goals are for the group.
Stimulate, guide, and control the discussion, and move towards a decision
This includes clock-watching, keeping the discussion on the topic, checking aggressive members, drawing in non-participants, and improving the quality of the discussion. He should keep his fingers on the group’s pulse. At the same time the leader should be impartial and not take sides or announce a position. He should be attentive and listen to each contributor. He should be able to point out similarities and differences in different points made in the discussion. Occasionally he will summarize the progress being made.
Stimulating the discussion involves getting every one to participate. This is not easy. People give many reasons or excuses for not contributing. Some feel their participation will not make any difference. This could be because of self-image or their image of the leader. Some are simply not interested enough to participate. Some don’t participate because they are tired, thinking of something else, afraid, or just slow to respond.
Keep records and represent the group externally
Decision-making groups should maintain records of the meetings. These records should be distributed to the members and any parent organization. The leader would be the representative of the group to any meetings of the parent group or with any group they work together with.