Eliminate Death of Meetings–Improve Communication by Clarifying roles and functions on Team

Facilitators need to possess basic skills to help a group communicate in an open and involved manner.Timely interventions are the key to you success. The tools we are focusing on will be active listening, questioning, and empathy.  Special tools and techniques are utilized to diagnose and address specific issues that face the group. The focus of this blog is to improve your awareness of specific skills such as conflict resolution, reflection of feelings, and honest direct communication. Building interpersonal skills and dealing with problems that block adult learning can dramatically improve the overall productivity of the sessions.Today many organizations are using committees ,task forces and project groups to improve efficiency and effectiveness in operations and functional decision-making activities.  So I thought it would be helpful to dig into two critical Group Processes  “task and maintenance” roles and functions that if you understood would make your meetings more productive and satisfying experiences.

Group Processes

Task Functions and Roles. Helps facilitator and members understand the purpose and goals of the group. Understanding these roles and functions focus the group on using their time and skills to get the job done. The group will  often need assertive and firm leader-facilitators to keep things moving and on target. They relate to and are passionate about the reasons and purpose of the groups assignment and rationale for existing.

“Maintenance” Functions and Roles. These roles provide the ‘oil’ or “glue” for effective small group discussions. They look at how a group goes about getting it’s work done or decisions made. During this group process the focus is on the emotional life of the group. For example, what helps or interferes in helping to get the work of the group accomplished, consider the needs of individuals or communicates to whom etc.  These roles  open up the channels for two-way communication and problem solving.

Identifying and defining Group Process Roles and Functions of Facilitators

“Task” Roles and Functions of Facilitator

Initiator Start things off; or helps change direction. Initially often the leader.
Energizer   Provides challenes, inspires and stimulates group to discussion and action leading to accomplishing goals of discussion.
Clarifier of Opinions Takes individual contributions and clarifies them – encourages people to be specific “are you saying that …”, “it seems to me what you are saying is …”
Information giver/and Seeker Gives or seeks to find out certain information. It may relate to the exact structure of the task.
Coordinator Clarifies various suggestions, ideas and opinions and seeks agreement to move group ahead
Questioner/Evaluator Asks fundamental questions about the task of the group. Main factor is the ability to step back from what is going on and challenge assumptions. Confronts the groups level of engagement or activity level.
Summarizer Does not add anything but provides the facility of checking and clarifying what has been said and achieved. Provides breathing space.

“Maintenance” Roles and Functions of Facilitator

Gatekeeper attempts to encourage communication, bringing persons into the discussion who have not given their ideas, keeping the discussion  on track and to the point, etc.
Supporter/ Encourager Provides warmth to individuals “yes, I think that’s a good point”, “that was really helpful” etc. Recognizes and exhibits acceptance of different points of view.
Harmonizer Tries to reduce conflict and discord in the group by encouraging members to be respectful and considerate yet allows them to share feelings; such as frustrations or anger at others .
Standard Setter and Role Model Expresses standards and best practices for the group to attempt to achieve, and applies them to evaluating the group process
Self-Discloser Shares experience like, “This also happened to me” – helps breakthrough to the personal level.
Process observer Often shows himself when the group gets stuck. Helps unblock group dynamics and get conversation back on track .
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