The Best Group Leaders Have...
- Effective Listening Skills: the ability to tune in to the feelings and attitudes underlying the content of words spoken.
- Responding Skills: the ability to make appropriate responses to what has been said so that discussions can continue in a meaningful way.
- Knowledge and Intelligence: the ability to be creative, resourceful and relevant in order to tie together factual knowledge, personal experience, values and beliefs with the group discussion.
- Commitment and Ethical Standards: the ability to put the group goals and welfare of the members above personal gain.
- Group Leadership Skills: the ability to understand group dynamics and behavior and to apply knowledge in a practical sense.
- Genuineness: the ability to be yourself; to be authentic, real, self-congruent and truthful.
- Empathy: the ability to perceive and understand another person's feelings from her/his point of view rather than yours.
- Acceptance: the ability to convey a feeling of trust, respect and non-possessive caring.
An additional characteristic will be mentioned separately because it is so often overlooked and/or downplayed. This characteristic is the ability to be a good role model. It involves an awareness of the impact of modeling on the student. Students learn much by adopting some of the behaviors and attitudes they perceive their peers and/or their "leaders" as possessing. Always be aware of this. For example, if you promote the responsible use of alcohol, but visibly abuse alcohol yourself, you lose credibility very quickly. The resultant double message is a roadblock to the effective facilitation of the group.