Individual Strengths and the Group Process
‘Unity is strength’ could be a cliché but this does not necessarily make its implications on human society outdated. Without a doubt, a similar task taken by an individual on one part and by a group on the other side could be accomplished faster and more perfectly by the group as compared to the individual. This means that when working as a group, efficiency is facilitated due to the consolidation of various strengths of the various members of the group. However, working as a group can sometimes offer strong challenges to the accomplishment of the given task. For instance, arriving at a consensus could prove difficult due to the different perspectives and opinions given by the different members. In addition, members of the group who can shout louder than others or those who hold a powerful position stand a chance of having most of the decisions inclining to their opinions. With good organization and skills, however, excellent results can be achieved from a group. This paper will highlight one of the techniques used in group decision-making and also point out how individual skills within the group can enhance performance while at the same time act as impediments.
In my company where I work as a salesperson, we have been divided into groups of eight. Members of each group work closely together to ensure that it emerges the top performer in the monthly ranking within the company. As a result, every member of the group has the opportunity to offer his skills and strengths to the group so that it assists the other members in their marketing endeavors. As an individual, I have always been a determined and aggressive person. This has acted as my strength throughout my career as a salesperson. When I find the potential in a client, I aggressively pursue this potential and ensure that I close the deal in the shortest time possible. Accordingly, I have used these skills to boost the morale of other members who feel downcast and demotivated. Every time we meet in the morning to discuss how our day is to be, the group leader usually makes us shout out loudly the motto of our group which was developed by me and accepted by all the group members who believed that my success was basically founded in this spirit. Therefore, every morning, before starting our activities we shout, “Determined and aggressive.” this works magic to our group. Several members who had been operating without motivation have confessed to have been uplifted by the mere mention of these words and by looking at me and the success I command. By being determined and aggressive, I have assisted downcast members to get motivation and hence our group performance has always been outstanding.
Unfortunately, being aggressive and determined and hence successful has not been viewed with positive significance by every member of the group. To some, it has acted as a demotivating factor. One of the members of the group has always used this as an excuse for her poor performance. In most of the discussions with her to ascertain the provenance of her poor performance, the group has found out that she thinks that she has no qualities of aggressiveness and determination. These, she believes are the fundamental qualities of real salesperson. Without them, one cannot succeed. Therefore, using this as her yardstick to frame her definition of a successful salesperson has made her rule herself out as a good salesperson. Accordingly, her performance has been greatly hampered by this belief. This means that as much as good qualities and individual strengths could contribute positively to the group performance, they could also act as drawbacks to the general performance of the group.
As salespeople, the power of persuasion acts as a key to success. This is a quality that I have found in some of the members of the group. While these strengths work to our advantage in winning certain favors from the administration, they sometimes impede the group process. Using their persuasive power, these members have in most cases persuaded the group to make decisions that favor their opinions and perspectives. This sometimes leaves some group members feeling discouraged and sidelined. To avoid such circumstances, I have come to believe that fostering the skills of coordination could greatly improve the performance of our group. When each individual member learns to believe that he has a weakness where the other member has strength and that he also possesses a strength where another member has a weakness, and accepts to consolidate the different strengths and skills, the group performance will be greatly enhanced.
Problem Solving Techniques and Group Decision Making
As a group, we have in most cases using the Nominal Group Technique. We have used this technique to prioritize issues so that a consensus can be achieved. We developed this consensus after discovering that most of the decisions made by the group had been favoring the opinions of a small majority while some members had never had their opinions considered. This was a result of their outspoken nature and also their persuasive power. We, therefore, had to come up with a technique that would lead as to a consensus.
This technique allows members to sit face to face and engage in the discussion of issues before we make a general evaluation. After all the relevant issues will have been discussed, every member of the group takes part in the evaluation of the issue so that the decision arrived at reflects the opinions of every member. However, other methods could be used in the group process. For instance, we could use the Delphi method. In this method, written anonymous discussions which are controlled by a facilitator move from one member to the other so that they can make their criticism and intensive analysis. Unlike the Nominal Group Technique which allows members to come face to face and hence can lead to bitter arguments and also offers little time to ponder on the propositions, the Delphi method avoids all these. It seems therefore, to be a better technique in comparison.
From my personal point of view, the best step we can take to improve our group process will be changing our technique when dealing with very contagious issues. I propose that the group leader takes the role of facilitator and hence coordinate the flow of written information between the group members. This will give each member a chance to express his feelings and also give each member enough time to analyze the different propositions and hence come up with a fair judgment. It will also avoid situations where the members skilled in persuasion have all the group decisions favoring their opinions. This will also avoid personal conflicts between individuals. And this will greatly improve the group processes.
Mind tools. (2009). The Delphi method. Web.
Mind tools. (2009). Nominal Group Techniques. Web.