- Meeting Processes,
- Types of Groups, and
- Social Communication Roles (both major and minor).
Playing the right communication roles (at the right time no less) is one of the primary communication skills needed by leaders.
Types Of Communication Roles We Play
In social psychology, one of the key elements of understanding how a group functions is to examine the roles played by each of its members. You might say a role is a set of behaviors associated with an individual, it is a pattern of behavior that is relatively consistent over time, and it changes depending on the situation.Formal RolesFormal roles have labels assigned to them. Formal family roles Include: Father, Mother, aunt, uncle, son, daughter and so on. Formal work roles include: worker, supervisor, manager, executive, investor, and of course, The Boss. if you stop to think about it, many university degrees are really preparation for formal work roles. It takes more study time learn how to be a doctor, a lawyer, much less time to be an electrician or a plumber. In meetings, the formal role includes leader, facilitator, scribe, etc.So besides knowing how to play well your formal roles, its very important to learn how to develop the skills associated with the informal communication roles, especially the communication roles that help you run meetings.Informal RolesThese communication roles get played in a group setting. They typically last a very short time, anywhere from a second to a minute or so. Some of these roles are played spontaneously, almost randomly, like a stream of consciousness. With practice, one learns to play the right role at the right time. There are three categories of these communication roles: task, relationship and self-centered ones.
If you never worried about group communication, consider this. In larger organizations, you will be spending 70% of your time in a group ritual known as a meeting, that’s thousands of hours over the life of your career. And as you go toward the ranks of the executive, more and more time is spend in more and more meetings. Despite lists of good advice on how to run meetings, a great deal of time is still wasted. It estimated that time wasted in meetings is at least 25 percent and commonly 50%.
Informal (Facilitator) Communication Roles
Task roles facilitate the process of getting the job done. They help to come up with a solution for a problem, identify who’s responsible, ensure that there is a plan. Collectively, these roles are necessary to execute on the task dimension of situational leadership models. There are ten of these task roles. But if you want to be a great leader of facilitator, you must also understand the relationship roles as well.
One can also try to measure confusion. It’s amazing how often people and groups are confused but fail to say anything. This happens many times in every meeting. And of course, there are certain types of meetings where the audience is almost always confused, almost all a time. Think about when you’re a student listening to professor’s lecture.
Another type of purpose has to do with persuasion. Different people define persuasion differently.
Why can also indirectly measure effectiveness of group communication by the actions taken by group members. However, the realm of action also depends on other factors such as human motivation.
How To Learn These Roles
Besides understanding the roles, it’s important to apply what you know. You will need to practice exercises and assignments allowing you to take the theory into the real world. Here are the first two steps in the application sequence. There are four major application steps areas:
- Putting Words To Roles
- Building Observation Skills: Detecting Self Oriented Roles, and last but not least,
- Intervening in Group Dynamics
it’s not rocket science, but one does have to spend a little bit time memorizing those communication roles. Once you’ve done this, you must put words to the roles and begin more complicated elements of practice.
References and Resources
This is a tale of the more nasty side of groups in business. The focus is on four real estate agents who will use about any persuasive tool they can, legal and illegal) to close. One gets a feel for why there are so many victims out there and who easy it is to persuade.
You are stuck with a twelve strangers you would rather not be with. It’s very hot in the room and a decision has to be made whether the defendant is innocent or guilty. Almost everyone present wants to leave.The first vote is taken and it’s eleven to one — you being the only one to vote innocent. What to do?A jury has a foreman, but that person may or may not be the real leader of the group. In this movie, emerging leader Juror 8 (played by Henry Fonda) rather than caving to peer pressure, uses a number of different techniques to get the others in the room to reconsider their positions.Through the cleaver use of subtle patterns of persuasion and questions, Fonda emerges as the de facto leader of the group. After watching this leadership movie, you may want to forget about the MBA and get a degree in psychology instead.