T4T - Effective Facilitator Trait
One of the most important personal traits of effective group leaders is courage. Leaders show courage in their willingness
(1) to be vulnerable at times, admitting mistakes and imperfections and taking the same risks that they expect group members to take,
(2) to confront another, even though they might not be sure that they're right,
(3) to act on their beliefs and hunches,
(4) to admit it when their perceptions are found to have been inaccurate,
(5) to be emotionally touched by another and to draw on their experiences in order to identify with the other,
(6) to continually examine their inner selves,
(7) to be direct and honest with members,
(8) to express to the group their fears and expectations about the group process, and, most of all,
(9) to do what they expect others to do in the group situation.
Leaders should not use their special role to protect themselves from honest and direct interaction with the rest of the group.
One of the best ways to teach desired behaviors is by modeling those behaviors in the group. Facilitators and trainers should not expect the participants to do anything that they as leaders are not willing to do. Thus, if leaders value disclosure, honesty, risk-taking, openness, listening with respect, it is important that they show respect for members by listening, tell success and failure stories about themselves to teach a point, that they step outside their comfort zones to ask hard questions, and that they strive to honestly express what they think will help the group improve. Modeling these behaviors will in turn encourage group members to portray these same behaviors.
A deep belief in the value of group process is positively related to constructive outcomes. It's also an essential element of effective facilitation. Enthusiasm and conviction are powerful means of providing incentive to fully participate in the group process, as well as a sense of hope and belonging to group members. While there are limitations to group process for achieving growth, leaders must believe in the value of what they are doing and trust the dynamics of the group. To do otherwise would be a huge disservice to the group.
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