This is a€?Leadership, Roles, and Problem Solving in Groupsa€?, chapter 14 from the book A Primer on Communication Studies (v. This content was accessible as of December 29, 2012, and it was downloaded then by Andy Schmitz in an effort to preserve the availability of this book.
PDF copies of this book were generated using Prince, a great tool for making PDFs out of HTML and CSS. For more information on the source of this book, or why it is available for free, please see the project's home page. helps people like you help teachers fund their classroom projects, from art supplies to books to calculators. Throughout human history, some people have grown into, taken, or been given positions as leaders.
Before we move onto specific approaches to studying leadership, leta€™s distinguish between designated and emergent leaders. A group leader may be formally designated by someone inside or outside the group or may emerge naturally during early group meetings. The trait approach to studying leadership distinguishes leaders from followers based on traits, or personal characteristics.Charles Pavitt, a€?Theorizing about the Group Communication-Leadership Relationship,a€? in The Handbook of Group Communication Theory and Research, ed. The trait approach to studying leaders has provided some useful information regarding how people view ideal leaders, but it has not provided much insight into why some people become and are more successful leaders than others. The emergent approach to studying leadership considers how leaders emerge in groups that are initially leaderless and how situational contexts affect this process.Charles Pavitt, a€?Theorizing about the Group Communication-Leadership Relationship,a€? in The Handbook of Group Communication Theory and Research, ed. Leaders emerge differently in different groups, but there are two stages common to each scenario.Ernest G.
The second stage of leader emergence is where a more or less pronounced struggle for leadership begins. This final approach to the study of leadership is considered a functional approach, because it focuses on how particular communication behaviors function to create the conditions of leadership.
The communication behaviors that facilitate effective leadership encompass three main areas of group communication including task, procedural, and relational functions. Leadership behaviors that contribute to a groupa€™s task-related functions include providing, seeking, and evaluating information. A group leader with high communication competence can facilitate brainstorming and group discussion to enhance the creativity and quality of group membersa€™ ideas. This can allow the leader to keep his or her eye on the a€?big picturea€? and challenge group members to make their ideas more concrete or discuss their implications beyond the group without adding his or her own opinion. Leadership behaviors that contribute to a groupa€™s procedural-related functions help guide the group as it proceeds from idea generation to implementation.
Leadership behaviors that contribute to a groupa€™s relational functions include creating a participative and inclusive climate, establishing norms of reflection and self-analysis, and managing conflict. Given the large amount of research done on leadership, it is not surprising that there are several different ways to define or categorize leadership styles. Autocratic leaders set policies and make decisions primarily on their own, taking advantage of the power present in their title or status to set the agenda for the group. Democratic leaders facilitate group discussion and like to take input from all members before making a decision. Laissez-faire leaders take a a€?hands-offa€? approach, preferring to give group members freedom to reach and implement their own decisions. While this is a frequently cited model of leadership styles, we will focus in more detail on a model that was developed a few years after this one.
Directive leadersLeaders who provide psychological structure for their group members by clearly communicating expectations, keeping a schedule and agenda, providing specific guidance as group members work toward the completion of their task, and taking the lead on setting and communicating group rules and procedures.
A directive leadership style is effective in groups that do not have a history and may require direction to get started on their task. Participative leadersLeaders who work to include group members in the decision-making process by soliciting and considering their opinions and suggestions.
The participative method of leadership is similar to the democratic style discussed earlier, and it is a style of leadership practiced in many organizations that have established work groups that meet consistently over long periods of time. A supportive leadership style is more likely in groups that are primarily relational rather than task focused. Achievement-oriented leadersLeaders who strive for excellence and set challenging goals, constantly seeking improvement and exhibiting confidence that group members can meet their high expectations. Achievement-oriented leaders also often possess good instincts, allowing them to make decisions quickly while acknowledging the potential for failure but also showing a resiliency that allows them to bounce back from mistakes and come back stronger. Do you think Jobs could have been as successful had he employed one of the other leadership styles?
Leaders help move group members toward the completion of their goal using various motivational strategies. The very title of leader brings with it legitimate powerPower that flows from the officially recognized position, status, or title of a group member., which is power that flows from the officially recognized position, status, or title of a group member. A group member with expertise in an area relevant to the groupa€™s task may draw on expert power to lead the group.
Expert powerPower that comes from knowledge, skill, or expertise that a group member possesses and other group members do not.
Referent powerPower that comes from the attractiveness, likeability, and charisma of the group member. Information powerPower that comes from a persona€™s ability to access information that comes through informal channels and well-established social and professional networks. Coercive power, since it entails punishment or negative incentive, can lead to interpersonal conflict and a negative group climate if it is overused or used improperly. As wea€™ve already learned, leaders share traits, some more innate and naturally tapped into than others.
As you build up your experience and reputation as a leader, be prepared for your workload to grow and your interpersonal communication competence to become more important.
What communication competencies do you think are most important for a leader to have and why? Who do you know who would be able to give you constructive feedback on your leadership skills? Designated leaders are officially recognized in their leadership role and may be appointed or elected. Emergent leaders gain status and respect through engagement with the group and its task and are turned to by others as a resource when leadership is needed. The trait approach to studying leadership distinguishes leaders from followers based on traits or personal characteristics, such as physical appearance, communication ability, intelligence, and personality. Leaders also emerge based on communication skill and competence, as certain communication behaviors function to create the conditions of leadership. Directive leaders help provide psychological structure for their group members by clearly communicating expectations, keeping a schedule and agenda, providing specific guidance as group members work toward the completion of their task, and taking the lead on setting and communicating group rules and procedures.
Participative leaders work to include group members in the decision-making process by soliciting and considering their opinions and suggestions.
Achievement-oriented leaders strive for excellence and set challenging goals, constantly seeking improvement and exhibiting confidence that group members can meet their high expectations. Legitimate power flows from the officially recognized power, status, or title of a group member. Expert power comes from knowledge, skill, or expertise that a group member possesses and other group members do not. Referent power comes from the attractiveness, likeability, and charisma of the group member.
Information power comes from a persona€™s ability to access information that comes through informal channels and well-established social and professional networks. Reward power comes from the ability of a group member to provide a positive incentive as a compliance-gaining strategy, and coercive power comes from the ability of a group member to provide a negative incentive (punishment). In what situations would a designated leader be better than an emergent leader, and vice versa? Think of a leader that you currently work with or have worked with who made a strong (positive or negative) impression on you. Just as leaders have been long studied as a part of group communication research, so too have group member roles. Task roles and their related behaviors contribute directly to the groupa€™s completion of a task or achievement of its goal or purpose. The expediterA task-related role that functions to keep the group on track toward completing its task by managing the agenda and setting and assessing goals in order to monitor the groupa€™s progress. An expediter in a restaurant keeps the food flowing from the kitchen to the diners in a timely and orderly fashion, just as the expediter in a group keeps the group on an agenda.
If youa€™ve ever worked in a restaurant, youa€™re probably familiar with an expeditera€™s role in the kitchen.
The role of information providerA role that includes behaviors that are more evenly shared than in other roles, as ideally, all group members present new ideas, initiate discussions of new topics, and contribute their own relevant knowledge and experiences. The information seekerA group member who asks for more information, elaboration, or clarification on items relevant to the groupa€™s task. The gatekeeperA group member who manages the flow of conversation in a group in order to achieve an appropriate balance so that all group members get to participate in a meaningful way.
The recorderA group member who takes notes on the discussion and activities that occur during a group meeting.
Maintenance roles and their corresponding behaviors function to create and maintain social cohesion and fulfill the interpersonal needs of group members.
The social-emotional leader within a group may perform a variety of maintenance roles and is generally someone who is well liked by the other group members and whose role behaviors complement but dona€™t compete with the task leader. The role of supporterA role characterized by communication behaviors that encourage other group members and provide emotional support as needed.
The tension releaserA role filled by someone who is naturally funny and sensitive to the personalities of the group and the dynamics of any given situation and who uses these qualities to manage the frustration level of the group. The harmonizerA group member who helps manage the various types of group conflict that emerge during group communication.
An interpreter is a group member who has cultural sensitivity and experience interacting with multiple cultures and can help facilitate intercultural interactions within a group. An interpreterA group member who helps manage the diversity within a group by mediating intercultural conflict, articulating common ground between different people, and generally creating a climate where difference is seen as an opportunity rather than as something to be feared. Group communication scholars began exploring the negative side of group member roles more than sixty years ago.Kenneth D. The behaviors associated with all the self-centered rolesNegative group roles that divert attention from the task to the group member exhibiting the behavior.
The central negative argues against most of the ideas and proposals discussed in the group and often emerges as a result of a leadership challenge during group formation.
The monopolizer is a group member who makes excessive verbal contributions, preventing equal participation by other group members. A monopolizer makes excessive verbal contributions and holds the floor without allowing others to speak.
The a€?eggheada€? monopolizes the discussion with excessive contributions that are based in actual knowledge but that exceed the level of understanding of other group members or the needs of the group.John F. The self-confessor is a group member who tries to use group meetings as therapy sessions for issues not related to the groupa€™s task. Contact us with a description of the clipart you are searching for and we'll help you find it. See the license for more details, but that basically means you can share this book as long as you credit the author (but see below), don't make money from it, and do make it available to everyone else under the same terms. However, the publisher has asked for the customary Creative Commons attribution to the original publisher, authors, title, and book URI to be removed. Scholars in business, communication, psychology, and many other fields have written extensively about the qualities of leaders, theories of leadership, and how to build leadership skills. The list of ideal traits is not final, because excellent leaders can have few, if any, of these traits and poor leaders can possess many. In one scenario, a leader candidate picks up an ally in the group who acts as a supporter or lieutenant, reinforcing the ideas and contributions of the candidate. This last approach is the most useful for communication scholars and for people who want to improve their leadership skills, because leadership behaviors (which are learnable and adaptable) rather than traits or situations (which are often beyond our control) are the primary focus of study. Although any group member can perform leadership behaviors, groups usually have patterns of and expectations for behaviors once they get to the norming and performing stages of group development. Leaders may want to be cautious about contributing ideas before soliciting ideas from group members, since the leadera€™s contribution may sway or influence others in the group, therefore diminishing the importance of varying perspectives. To review, some of the key leadership behaviors that contribute to the task-related functions of a group include the following:John F. Some leaders are better at facilitating and managing ideas than they are at managing the administrative functions of a group. By encouraging participation among group members, a leader can help quell people who try to monopolize discussion and create an overall climate of openness and equality. In general, effective leaders do not fit solely into one style in any of the following classifications.
I choose to focus on this later model because it offers some more specifics in terms of the communicative elements of each leadership style. It can also be the most appropriate method during crisis situations in which decisions must be made under time constraints or other extraordinary pressures. US companies began to adopt a more participative and less directive style of management in the 1980s after organizational scholars researched teamwork and efficiency in Japanese corporations. This closing line of an article following the death of Steve Jobs clearly illustrates the larger-than-life personality and extraordinary drive of achievement-oriented leaders. Rather than bringing in panels of experts, presenting ideas to focus groups for feedback, or putting a new product through market research and testing, Jobs relied on his instincts, which led to some embarrassing failures and some remarkable successes that overshadowed the failures. In what circumstances would you prefer not to work with an achievement-oriented leader, and why?
The types of power leaders draw on to motivate have long been a topic of small group study. For example, the leader of the a€?Social Media Relations Departmenta€? of a retail chain receives legitimate power through the title a€?director of social media relations.a€? It is important to note though that being designated as someone with status or a position of power doesna€™t mean that the group members respect or recognize that power. For example, a transplant surgeon may lead a team of other doctors and nurses during the surgery while a critical care nurse may take the lead during postsurgery recovery.
Reward powerPower that comes from the ability of a group member to provide a positive incentive as a compliance-gaining strategy. While any leader or group member could make threats to others, leaders with legitimate power are typically in the best position to use coercive power. Successful leaders also develop and refine leadership skills and behaviors that they are not a€?born with.a€? Since much of leadership is skill and behavior based, it is never too early to start developing yourself as a leader. Once youa€™re in your career path, you can draw on this previous leadership experience and volunteer or step up when the need arises, which can help you get noticed. In what ways might they prepare you for more complex and career-specific leadership positions you may have later?
While there are usually only one or two official leaders within a group, all group members can perform leadership functions, which are a complex of beliefs, communication patterns, and behaviors that influence the functioning of a group and move a group toward the completion of its tasks. While this approach is useful for understanding how people conceptualize ideal leaders, it doesna€™t offer communication scholars much insight into how leadership can be studied and developed as a skill. Different leadership styles and skills are needed based on the level of structure surrounding a group and on how group interactions play out in initial meetings and whether or not a leadership struggle occurs. This approach is most useful to communication scholars, because in it leadership is seen as a set of communication behaviors that are learnable and adaptable rather than traits or situational factors, which are often beyond our control.
For each of these leaders and contexts, identify some important leadership qualities that each should possess, and discuss some of the influences in each context that may affect the leader and his or her leadership style.
Group roles are more dynamic than leadership roles in that a role can be formal or informal and played by more than one group member. The person working a€?expoa€? helps make sure that the timing on all the dishes for a meal works out and that each plate is correct before it goes out to the table. The social-emotional leader may also reassure and support the task leader when he or she becomes stressed.
Benne and Paul Sheats, a€?Functional Roles of Group Members,a€? Journal of Social Issues 4, no.
These roles include the central negative, monopolizer, stage hog, egghead, self-confessor, insecure compliment seeker, and joker. In short, monopolizers like to hear the sound of their own voice and do not follow typical norms for conversational turn taking.
The a€?stage hoga€? monopolizes discussion with excessive verbal contributions and engages in one-upping and narcissistic listening.

You may also download a PDF copy of this book (291 MB) or just this chapter (19 MB), suitable for printing or most e-readers, or a .zip file containing this book's HTML files (for use in a web browser offline). Ita€™s important to point out that although a group may have only one official leader, other group members play important leadership roles.
In some indigenous cultures, shamans are considered leaders because they are believed to be bridges that can connect the spiritual and physical realms. Designated leadersLeaders who are officially recognized in their leadership role and may be appointed or elected by people inside or outside the group. Additionally, these traits are difficult to change or control without much time and effort. If there are no other leader candidates or the others fail to pick up a supporter, the candidate with the supporter will likely become the leader. As wea€™ve already learned, any group member can exhibit leadership behaviors, not just a designated or emergent leader.
Many groups only meet one or two times, and in these cases it is likely that a designated leader will perform many of the functions to get the group started and then step in to facilitate as needed.
Likewise a leader may want to solicit evaluation of ideas from members before providing his or her own judgment.
So while a group leader may help establish the goals of the group and set the agenda, another group member with more experience in group operations may step in to periodically revisit and assess progress toward completion of goals and compare the groupa€™s performance against its agenda. Leaders want to make sure that people dona€™t feel personally judged for their ideas and that criticism remains idea centered, not person centered. Instead, they are able to adapt their leadership style to fit the relational and situational context.Julia T. The four leadership styles used in this model are directive, participative, supportive, and achievement oriented.Robert J. Although this is most similar to the autocratic leadership style mentioned before, it is more nuanced and flexible. When groups have an established history and are composed of people with unique skills and expertise, a directive approach may be seen as a€?micromanaging.a€? In these groups, a more participative style may be the best option. When group members feel included, their personal goals are more likely to align with the group and organizationa€™s goals, which can help productivity. Japanese managers included employees in decision making, which blurred the line between the leader and other group members and enhanced productivity. They want to support group membersa€™ welfare through a positive and friendly group climate.
While maintaining positive relationships is an important part of any groupa€™s functioning, most task-oriented groups need to spend more time on task than social functions in order to efficiently work toward the completion of their task. These leaders often engage in systematic social comparison, keeping tabs on other similar high-performing groups to assess their expectations and the groupa€™s progress. Jobs, who founded Apple Computers, was widely recognized as a visionary with a brilliant mind during his early years at the helm of Apple (from 1976 to 1985), but he hadna€™t yet gained respect as a business leader. Although Jobs made unilateral decisions, he relied heavily on the creative and technical expertise of others who worked for him and were able to make his creative, innovative, and some say genius ideas reality. How might the achievement-oriented leadership style be well suited for a technology company like Apple or the technology field in general? For example, even though all the workers in the Social Media Relations Department have experience with computers, the information technology (IT) officer has expert power when it comes to computer networking and programming. As we learned earlier, more physically attractive people and more outgoing people are often chosen as leaders. We have already learned that information networks are an important part of a groupa€™s structure and can affect a groupa€™s access to various resources.
Whether you are planning to start your first career path fresh out of college, youa€™ve returned to college in order to switch career paths, or youa€™re in college to help you advance more quickly in your current career path, you should have already been working on your leadership skills for years; ita€™s not something you want to start your first day on the new job. Of course, you have to be able to follow through on your commitment, which takes discipline and dedication. Additionally, one group member may exhibit various role behaviors within a single group meeting or play a few consistent roles over the course of his or her involvement with a group. In this section we will discuss the following roles and behaviors: task leader, expediter, information provider, information seeker, gatekeeper, and recorder. An expediter doesna€™t push group members mindlessly along toward the completion of their task; an expediter must have a good sense of when a topic has been sufficiently discussed or when a groupa€™s extended focus on one area has led to diminishing returns. When group members are brought together because they each have different types of information, early group meetings may consist of group members taking turns briefing each other on their area of expertise. The gatekeeper may prompt others to provide information by saying something like a€?Leta€™s each share one idea we have for a movie to show during Black History Month.a€? He or she may also help correct an imbalance between members who have provided much information already and members who have been quiet by saying something like a€?Aretha, wea€™ve heard a lot from you today. The recorder is the only role that is essentially limited to one person at a time since in most cases it wouldna€™t be necessary or beneficial to have more than one person recording.
The maintenance roles we will discuss in this section include social-emotional leader, supporter, tension releaser, harmonizer, and interpreter.
In general, the social-emotional leader is a reflective thinker who has good perception skills that he or she uses to analyze the group dynamics and climate and then initiate the appropriate role behaviors to maintain a positive climate. The supportera€™s work primarily occurs in one-on-one exchanges that are more intimate and in-depth than the exchanges that take place during full group meetings. Being funny is not enough to fulfill this role, as jokes or comments could indeed be humorous to other group members but be delivered at an inopportune time, which ultimately creates rather than releases tension. They keep their eyes and ears open for signs of conflict among group members and ideally intervene before it escalates. Just as an interpreter at the United Nations acts as a bridge between two different languages, the interpreter can bridge identity differences between group members. This scenario is unfortunate because the central negative is typically a motivated and intelligent group member who can benefit the group if properly handled by the group leader or other members. There are some people who are well informed, charismatic, and competent communicators who can get away with impromptu lectures and long stories, but monopolizers do not possess the magnetic qualities of such people. One-upping is a spotlight-stealing strategy in which people try to verbally a€?out-doa€? others by saying something like a€?You think thata€™s bad? This chapter will begin to answer those questions, because leadership and group member roles influence the performance of small groups. Many early kings, queens, and military leaders were said to be approved by a god to lead the people. Some traits that leaders, in general, share are related to physical appearance, communication ability, intelligence, and personality.John F. Because these traits are enduring, there isna€™t much room for people to learn and develop leadership skills, which makes this approach less desirable for communication scholars who view leadership as a communication competence. In a second scenario, there are two leader candidates who both pick up supporters and who are both qualified leaders.
Therefore leadership behaviors are important for all of us to understand even if we dona€™t anticipate serving in leadership positions.John F. In group situations where creativity is needed to generate ideas or solutions to a problem, the task leader may be wise to facilitate brainstorming and discussion. Ita€™s also important to check in between idea-generating sessions to clarify, summarize, and gauge the agreement level of group members.
A safe and positive climate typically leads to higher-quality idea generation and decision making. Wood, a€?Leading in Purposive Discussions: A Study of Adaptive Behavior,a€? Communication Monographs 44, no.
The originators of this model note that a leader can be directive without being seen as authoritarian. This style of leadership can also aid in group member socialization, as the members feel like they get to help establish group norms and rules, which affects cohesion and climate.
These small groups were called quality circles, because they focused on group interaction intended to improve quality and productivity.John F.
These leaders are good at reducing the stress and frustration of the group, which helps create a positive climate and can help increase group membersa€™ positive feelings about the task and other group members. Skilled directive or participative leaders of task-oriented groups would be wise to employ supportive leadership behaviors when group members experience emotional stress to prevent relational stress from negatively impacting the groupa€™s climate and cohesion. This type of leadership is similar to what other scholars call transformational or visionary leadership and is often associated with leaders like former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, talk show host and television network CEO Oprah Winfrey, former president Bill Clinton, and business magnate turned philanthropist Warren Buffett. As do other achievement-oriented leaders, Jobs held his group members to exceptionally high standards and fostered a culture that mirrored his own perfectionism. Of the five types of power, however, the leader alone is most likely to possess legitimate power.
Because of this, even though the director may have a higher status, she or he must defer to the IT officer when the office network crashes.
In many volunteer groups or groups that lack formal rules and procedures, leaders have a more difficult time using coercive power, since they cana€™t issue official punishments. While you may be excited to prove your leadership chops in your new career path, I caution you about taking on too much too fast. Some peoplea€™s role behaviors result from their personality traits, while other people act out a certain role because of a short-term mood, as a reaction to another group member, or out of necessity. The substantive leader is the a€?idea persona€? who communicates a€?big picturea€? thoughts and suggestions that feed group discussion. In such cases, the expediter may say, a€?Now that wea€™ve had a thorough discussion of the pros and cons of switching the office from PCs to Macs, which side do you think has more support?a€? or a€?Wea€™ve spent half of this meeting looking for examples of what other libraries have done and havena€™t found anything useful. So the expediter helps make order out of chaos by calling the food out to the kitchen in a particular order that logically works so that all the food will come up at the same time.
In other situations, only one person in the group may be chosen because of his or her specialized knowledge and this person may be expected to be the primary information provider for all other group members. In general, information seekers ask questions for clarification, but they can also ask questions that help provide an important evaluative function. At less formal meetings there may be no recorder, while at formal meetings there is almost always a person who records meeting minutes, which are an overview of what occurred at the meeting.
Unlike the role of task leader, this isna€™t a role that typically shifts from one person to another.
The healthy use of humor by the tension releaser performs the same maintenance function as the empathy employed by the harmonizer or the social-emotional leader, but it is less intimate and is typically directed toward the whole group instead of just one person.
For example, the harmonizer may sense that one group membera€™s critique of another membera€™s idea wasna€™t received positively, and he or she may be able to rephrase the critique in a more constructive way, which can help diminish the other group membera€™s defensiveness. Interpreters can help perform the other maintenance roles discussed with a special awareness of and sensitivity toward cultural differences. Studying these negative roles can help us analyze group interactions and potentially better understand why some groups are more successful than others. Although all these roles share in their quest to divert attention, they do it in different ways and for different reasons. Group communication scholars suggest that the group leader or leaders actively incorporate central negatives into group tasks and responsibilities to make them feel valued and to help diminish any residual anger, disappointment, or hurt feelings from the leadership conflict.Ernest G. A group membera€™s excessive verbal contributions are more likely to be labeled as monopolizing when they are not related to the task or when they provide unnecessary or redundant elaboration. Listen to what happened to me!a€? They also listen to others in order to find something they can connect back to themselves, not to understand the message.
Whether you consider yourself a leader or not, all members of a group can perform leadership functions, and being familiar with these behaviors can improve your groupa€™s performance. The leaderA group role that is associated with a high-status position and may be formally or informally recognized by group members. Today, many leaders are elected or appointed to positions of power, but most of them have already accumulated much experience in leadership roles. Designated leaders can be especially successful when they are sought out by others to fulfill and are then accepted in leadership roles. Rather than viewing these traits as a guide for what to look for when choosing your next leader, view them as traits that are made meaningful through context and communication behaviors.
The first stage only covers a brief period, perhaps no longer than a portion of one meeting. This leads to a more intense and potentially prolonged struggle that can actually be uncomfortable for other group members. A very skilled and experienced leader may take primary responsibility for all these behaviors, but ita€™s often beneficial to share them with group members to avoid becoming overburdened. Leaders also encourage group members to metacommunicate, or talk about the groupa€™s communication. Mitchell, a€?Path-Goal Theory of Leadership,a€? Journal of Contemporary Business 3 (1974): 81a€“97.
To do this, directive leaders must be good motivators who encourage productivity through positive reinforcement or reward rather than through the threat of punishment. When group members participate more, they buy into the groupa€™s norms and goals more, which can increase conformity pressures for incoming group members.
As we will learn later, some group roles function to maintain the relational climate of the group, and several group members often perform these role behaviors.
Achievement-oriented leaders are likely less common than the other styles, as this style requires a high level of skill and commitment on the part of the leader and the group. After his return, Apple reached its height under his leadership, which was now enhanced by business knowledge and skills he gained during his time away from the company. Constant comparisons to other technological innovators like Bill Gates, CEO of Microsoft, pushed Jobs and those who worked for him to work tirelessly to produce the a€?next big thing.a€? Achievement-oriented leaders like Jobs have been described as maniacal, intense, workaholics, perfectionists, risk takers, narcissists, innovative, and visionary.
A leader who has legitimate and expert power may be able to take a central role in setting the groupa€™s direction, contributing to problem solving, and helping the group achieve its goal. The knowledge may not always be official, but it helps the group solve problems and get things done.
These two types of power can be difficult for leaders and other group members to manage, because their use can lead to interpersonal conflict. Instead, coercive power will likely take the form of interpersonal punishments such as ignoring group members or excluding them from group activities. Since you may not yet be sure of your exact career path, try to get a variety of positions over a few years that are generally transferrable to professional contexts. Group communication scholars have cautioned us to not always think of these roles as neatly bounded all-inclusive categories.
The procedural leader is the person who gives the most guidance, perhaps following up on the ideas generated by the substantive leader.
Once the food is up, he or she also checks whata€™s on the plate against whata€™s on the ticket to make sure it matches.
For example, I was asked to serve on a university committee that is reviewing our undergraduate learning goals. Beau, what are your thoughts on Arethaa€™s suggestion?a€? Gatekeepers should be cautious about a€?calling people outa€? or at least making them feel that way. Each committee will have different rules or norms regarding the level of detail within and availability of the minutes. While all members of the group perform some maintenance role behaviors at various times, the socioemotional leader reliably functions to support group members and maintain a positive relational climate.
A supporter uses active empathetic listening skills to connect with group members who may seem down or frustrated by saying something like a€?Tayesha, you seemed kind of down today.
The tension releaser may start serving his or her function during the forming stage of group development when primary tensions are present due to the typical uncertainties present during initial interactions. Harmonizers also deescalate conflict once it has already starteda€”for example, by suggesting that the group take a break and then mediating between group members in a side conversation. While a literal interpreter would serve a task-related function within a group, this type of interpreter may help support a person who feels left out of the group because he or she has a different cultural identity than the majority of the group. Ita€™s important to acknowledge that we all perform some negative behaviors within groups but that those behaviors do not necessarily constitute a role.
The self-centered roles we will discuss are the central negative, monopolizer, self-confessor, insecure compliment seeker, and joker.John F. The stage hog is like the diva that refuses to leave the stage to let the next performer begin. The egghead is different from the dilettante monopolizer discussed earlier because this person has genuine knowledge and expertise on a subject, which may be useful to the group. Likewise, knowing the various roles that typically emerge in a group can help you better understand a groupa€™s dynamics and hopefully improve your overall group experience. Some leaders are well respected, some are feared, some are hated, and many elicit some combination of these reactions. On the other hand, some people seek out leadership positions not because they possess leadership skills and have been successful leaders in the past but because they have a drive to hold and wield power.
During this first stage, about half of the groupa€™s members are eliminated from the possibility of being the groupa€™s leader.

Although the two leader candidates dona€™t overtly fight with each other or say, a€?I should be leader, not you!a€? they both take strong stances in regards to the groupa€™s purpose and try to influence the structure, procedures, and trajectory for the group. To review, some of the key leadership behaviors that contribute to the procedural functions of a group include the following:John F. This can help the group identify and begin to address any interpersonal or communication issues before they escalate and divert the group away from accomplishing its goal.
One common way to study leadership style is to make a distinction among autocratic, democratic, and laissez-faire leaders.Kurt Lewin, Ronald Lippitt, and Ralph K.
As we learned earlier, this is good to a point, but it can become negative when the pressures lead to unethical group member behavior. With a supportive leader as a model, such behaviors would likely be performed as part of established group norms, which can do much to enhance social cohesion. Although rare, these leaders can be found at all levels of groups ranging from local school boards to Fortune 500 companies. The fact that Jobs was able to largely teach himself the ins and outs of business practices is a quality of achievement-oriented leaders, who are constantly self-reflective and evaluate their skills and performance, making adaptations as necessary.
These descriptors carry positive and negative connotations but often yield amazing results when possessed by a leader, the likes of which only seldom come around. In groups with a designated leader who relies primarily on legitimate power, a member with a significant amount of expert power may emerge as an unofficial secondary leader.
A group member may have referent power if he or she is well respected outside of the group for previous accomplishments or even because he or she is known as a dependable and capable group member. Individuals develop information power through years of interacting with others, making connections, and building and maintaining interpersonal and instrumental relationships. Reward power can be used by nearly any group member if he or she gives another group member positive feedback on an idea, an appreciation card for hard work, or a pat on the back.
In these roles, work on building a reputation as an ethical leader and as a leader who takes responsibility rather than playing the a€?blame game.a€? Leaders still have to be good team players and often have to take on roles and responsibilities that other group members do not want. Hopefully, your previous leadership experience will give you confidence that your group members will notice. After all, we all play multiple roles within a group and must draw on multiple communication behaviors in order to successfully play them. This person may be a designated or emergent leader, but in either case, task leaders tend to talk more during group interactions than other group members and also tend to do more work in the group.
A skilled and experienced task leader may be able to perform both of these roles, but when the roles are filled by two different people, the person considered the procedural leader is more likely than the substantive leader to be viewed by members as the overall group leader.
Expediting in a restaurant and in a small group is like a dance that requires some flexible and creative thinking and an ability to stick to a time frame and assess progress. Since my official role is to serve as the a€?faculty experta€? on the subcommittee related to speaking, I played a more central information-provider function for our group during most of our initial meetings.
As our discussion of groupthink notes, critical questioning helps increase the quality of ideas and group outcomes and helps avoid groupthink.
Instead of scolding someone for not participating, they should be invitational and ask a member to contribute to something specific instead of just asking if they have anything to add. While some groupa€™s minutes are required by law to be public, others may be strictly confidential.
Social-emotional leadership functions can actually become detrimental to the group and lead to less satisfaction among members when the maintenance behaviors being performed are seen as redundant or as too distracting from the task.Charles Pavitt, a€?Theorizing about the Group Communication-Leadership Relationship,a€? in The Handbook of Group Communication Theory and Research, ed. Is there anything youa€™d like to talk about?a€? Supporters also follow up on previous conversations with group members to maintain the connections theya€™ve already established by saying things like a€?Alan, I remember you said your mom is having surgery this weekend. The tension releaser may help a€?break the icea€? or make others feel at ease during the groupa€™s more socially awkward first meetings. Interpreters often act as allies to people who are different even though the interpreter doesna€™t share the specific cultural identity. Unlike a monopolizer, who may engage in his or her behaviors unknowingly, stage hogs are usually aware of what theya€™re doing.
But like the monopolizer and stage hog, the eggheada€™s excessive contributions draw attention away from the task, slow the group down, and may contribute to a negative group climate. LeadershipA complex of beliefs, communication patterns, and behaviors that influence the functioning of a group and move a group toward the completion of its task. This brief overview illustrates the centrality of leadership throughout human history, but it wasna€™t until the last hundred years that leadership became an object of systematic study. Many groups are initially leaderless and must either designate a leader or wait for one to emerge organically. Remember that this is an informal and implicit processa€”not like people being picked for a kickball team or intentionally vetted. Group members not involved in this struggle may not know who to listen to, which can lead to low task and social cohesion and may cause a group to fail. A group with a well-established participative and inclusive climate will be better prepared to handle conflict when it emerges. White, a€?Patterns of Aggressive Behavior in Experimentally Created a€?Social Climates,a€™a€? Journal of Social Psychology 10, no.
In addition to consulting group members for help with decision making, participative leaders also grant group members more freedom to work independently. Like legitimate power, the fact that a person possesses referent power doesna€™t mean he or she has the talent, skill, or other characteristic needed to actually lead the group.
For example, the group formed to raise funds for the science and nature museum may need to draw on informal information networks to get leads on potential donors, to get information about what local science teachers would recommend for exhibits, or to book a band willing to perform for free at a fundraising concert. Because of limited resources, many leaders are frustrated by their inability to give worthwhile tangible rewards to group members such as prizes, bonuses, or raises. Instead of complaining or expecting recognition for your a€?extra work,a€? accept these responsibilities enthusiastically and be prepared for your hard work to go unnoticed. When someone continually exhibits a particular behavior, it may be labeled as a role, but even isolated behaviors can impact group functioning.
Depending on the number of tasks a group has, there may be more than one task leader, especially if the tasks require different sets of skills or knowledge.
This indicates that task-focused groups assign more status to the person who actually guides the group toward the completion of the task (a a€?doera€?) than the person who comes up with ideas (the a€?thinkera€?).
To avoid the perception that group members are being rushed, a skilled expediter can demonstrate good active-listening skills by paraphrasing what has been discussed and summarizing what has been accomplished in such a way that makes it easier for group members to see the need to move on. Since other people on the subcommittee werena€™t as familiar with speaking and its place within higher education curriculum, it made sense that information-providing behaviors were not as evenly distributed in this case. Since gatekeepers make group members feel included, they also service the relational aspects of the group. Even though a record of a group meeting may be valuable, the role of recorder is often regarded as a low-status position, since the person in the role may feel or be viewed as subservient to the other members who are able to more actively contribute to the groupa€™s functioning. When people make a failed attempt to release tension, they may be viewed as a joker, which is a self-centered role we will learn more about later. In cases where the whole group experiences conflict, the harmonizer may help lead the group in perception-checking discussions that help members see an issue from multiple perspectives. The interpreter may help manage conflict that arises as a result of diversity, in this case, acting like an ambassador or mediator.
If that behavior gets the attention of the group members and makes them realize they were misinformed or headed in a negative direction, then that behavior may have been warranted. These folks likely lack sensitivity to nonverbal cues, or they would see that other group members are tired of listening or annoyed. The egghead may be like an absentminded professor who is smart but lacks the social sensitivity to tell when he or she has said enough and is now starting to annoy other group members. Emergent leadersLeaders who gain status and respect through engagement with the group and its task and are turned to by others as a resource when leadership is needed. But there are some communicative behaviors that influence who makes the cut to the next stage of informal leader consideration.
In some cases, one candidate-supporter team will retreat, leaving a clear leader to step up.
This can lead group members to feel trusted and respected for their skills, which can increase their effort and output.
They also competently provide constructive criticism in order to challenge and enhance group membersa€™ contributions. Groups for which an achievement-oriented leadership style would be effective are typically intentionally created and are made up of members who are skilled and competent in regards to the groupa€™s task. A person could just be likable but have no relevant knowledge about the groupa€™s task or leadership experience.
Additionally, the use of reward power may seem corny or paternalistic to some or may arouse accusations of favoritism or jealousy among group members who dona€™t receive the award.
Much of what a good leader does occurs in the background and isna€™t publicly praised or acknowledged.
Aside from confidence, good leaders also develop dynamism, which is a set of communication behaviors that conveys enthusiasm and creates an energetic and positive climate.
In this section, we will discuss the three categories of common group roles that were identified by early group communication scholars. Because of the added responsibilities of being a task leader, people in these roles may experience higher levels of stress.
When information seeking or questioning occurs as a result of poor listening skills, it risks negatively impacting the group. Because of this, it may be desirable to have the role of recorder rotate among members.John F.
Let me know if you need anything.a€? The supportera€™s communication behaviors are probably the least noticeable of any of the other maintenance roles, which may make this group membera€™s efforts seem overlooked.
For a harmonizer to be effective, ita€™s important that he or she be viewed as impartial and committed to the group as a whole rather than to one side of an issue or one person or faction within the larger group.
Interpreters, because of their cultural sensitivity, may also take a proactive role to help address conflict before it emergesa€”for example, by taking a group member aside and explaining why his or her behavior or comments may be perceived as offensive. Negative behaviors can be enacted with varying degrees of intensity and regularity, and their effects may range from mild annoyance to group failure. Otherwise the central negative will continue to argue against the proposals and decisions of the group, even when they may be in agreement. This type of egghead naively believes that other group members care as much about the subject as he or she does. In terms of physical appearance, designated leaders tend to be taller and more attractive than other group members. People will likely be eliminated as leader candidates if they do not actively contribute to initial group interactions, if they contribute but communicate poorly, if they contribute but appear too rigid or inflexible in their beliefs, or if they seem uninformed about the task of the group. But the candidate who retreated will still enjoy a relatively high status in the group and be respected for vying for leadership. Leaders may even instigate productive conflict by playing devila€™s advocate or facilitating civil debate of ideas. In many cases, the leader is specifically chosen because of his or her reputation and expertise, and even though the group members may not have a history of working with the leader, the members and leader must have a high degree of mutual respect. Instead, competent leaders know how to draw on other group members who may be better able to exercise a type of power in a given situation.
Some groups actually desire this type of leader, especially if the person is meant to attract external attention and serve as more of a a€?figureheada€? than a regularly functioning group member. Even when the group succeeds because of your hard work as the leader, you still have to be willing to share that praise with others who helped, because even though you may have worked the hardest, you didna€™t do it alone. Once confidence and dynamism have attracted a good team of people, good leaders facilitate quality interaction among group members, build cohesion, and capitalize on the synergy of group communication in order to come up with forward-thinking solutions to problems. These role categories include task-related roles, maintenance roles, and individual roles that are self-centered or unproductive for the group.Kenneth D. A task leadera€™s stresses, however, may be lessened through some of the maintenance role behaviors that we will discuss later.
Leaders and other group members can help support the supporter by acknowledging his or her contributions. A special kind of harmonizer that helps manage cultural differences within the group is the interpreter. In general, the effects grow increasingly negative as they increase in intensity and frequency.
In some cases, the central negative may unintentionally serve a beneficial function if his or her criticisms prevent groupthink. The second type of egghead is more pompous and monopolizes the discussion to flaunt his or her intellectual superiority.
Likewise, a person who is not recognized as a a€?leadera€? in title can provide excellent leadership. Research has found that leaders with a high task orientation are likely to emerge in both highly structured contexts like a group that works to maintain a completely automated factory unit and highly unstructured contexts like a group that is responding to a crisis.
The second-place candidate may become a nuisance for the new emergent leader, questioning his or her decisions. To review, some of the key leadership behaviors that contribute to the relational functions of a group include the following:John F. For example, a group formed to raise funds for a science and nature museum may choose a former mayor, local celebrity, or NASA astronaut as their leader because of his or her referent power.
They increase all group membersa€™ knowledge when they paraphrase and ask clarifying questions about the information presented. While a single enactment of a negative role behavior may still harm the group, regular enactment of such behaviors would constitute a role, and playing that role is guaranteed to negatively impact the group. This type of monopolizer is best described as a dilettante, or an amateur who tries to pass himself or herself off as an expert.
While the first type of egghead may be tolerated to a point by the group and seen as eccentric but valuable, the second type of egghead is perceived more negatively and more quickly hurts the group. In the remainder of this section, we will discuss some approaches to the study of leadership, leadership styles, and leadership and group dynamics.
We will now turn our attention to three common perspectives on why some people are more likely to be designated leaders than others and how leaders emerge in the absence of or in addition to a designated leader. As far as communication abilities, leaders speak more fluently, have a more confident tone, and communicate more often than other group members. Relational-oriented leaders are more likely to emerge in semistructured contexts that are less formal and in groups composed of people who have specific knowledge and are therefore be trusted to do much of their work independently.Fred E. Rather than excluding or punishing the second-place candidate, the new leader should give him or her responsibilities within the group to make use of the group membera€™s respected status.
In this situation it would probably be best for the group to have a secondary leader who attends to task and problem-solving functions within the group. Leaders are excellent observers of human behavior and are able to assess situations using contextual clues and nonverbal communication.
In general, the eggheada€™s advanced knowledge of a subject and excessive contributions can hurt the groupa€™s potential for synergy, since other group members may defer to the egghead expert, which can diminish the creativity that comes from outside and nonexpert perspectives. Leaders are also moderately more intelligent than other group members, which is attractive because leaders need good problem-solving skills. Interestingly, group members are not as likely to designate or recognize an emergent leader that they perceive to be exceedingly more intelligent than them.
For example, a group of local business owners who form a group for professional networking would likely prefer a leader with a relational-oriented style, since these group members are likely already leaders in their own right and therefore might resent a person who takes a rigid task-oriented style over a more collegial style.
Leaders also have a high degree of emotional intelligence, which allows them to better sense, understand, and respond to othersa€™ emotions and to have more control over their own displays of emotions. Last, leaders are usually more extroverted, assertive, and persistent than other group members.
Last, good leaders further their careers by being reflexive and regularly evaluating their strengths and weaknesses as a leader. These personality traits help get these group members noticed by others, and expressivity is often seen as attractive and as a sign of communication competence.
As you can see, the work of a leader only grows more complex as one moves further along a career path. But with the skills gained through many years of increasingly challenging leadership roles, a leader can adapt to and manage this increasing complexity.

Communication theory schools of thought
Effective oral communication definition examples
Simplify your life nl
Barbie a fairy secret full movie megavideo

Comments to Solving communication problems in an organization


15.04.2016 at 10:37:45

Law of Attraction is not working for you - they there is a selection to be created by all to be Service systems and.


15.04.2016 at 13:39:47

Really simple to stick to, but.


15.04.2016 at 17:38:16

Financial Planner (CFP) to talk about the economic implications of each selection assist, 'sanctuary', shelter or law.


15.04.2016 at 21:54:48

The lottery winnings closer to you.


15.04.2016 at 19:48:49

Spot offline to get writing completed.