There are many essential elements to being an effective leader. A group leader must be responsible for
not only participating in the group and ensuring that the group's goal is attained but also for
motivating the team, delivering success, and being a resource that group members can reach out to for
A leader as the word stands is someone who leads others. He/she should have a vision, commitment, and drive to achieve the goal of the group. The leader must motivate and inspire confidence in the
members of the group. The leader must be flexible, adaptable and should be capable to face all types
of situations including setbacks, challenges and failures in a calm and composed manner. He/she
must be able to extract work from each member of the group after assigning a particular task
according to the individual’s capacity as it may differ from person to person.
Leadership is the capacity to motivate a group of individuals towards the fulfillment
of the group’s objectives. The capacity to motivate could derive from the power that
is both formal and informal for formal and informal influence is important in
leadership. It is widely accepted that leadership can transpire from within a group
as well as by formal appointment to lead a group.
In social group work, one
finds and encourages emergence of leaders from within the group.
Some kind of leadership is present in every group, though it is not definite whether
the group is aware of this fact. It is also observed that the type of leadership
has an effect on the group. Depending on the objectives, nature, size and
composition of the group, leadership needs to evolve.
Important Characteristics of Group Leader
1-Effective communication: -The leader should have the capacity to communicate effectively to other
team members. The group leader should engage in active listening and be aware of various verbal and
non verbal communications that the group engages in. In addition, leaders need to pay attention to the
context from which meanings come.
2-Constancy-Group leaders can emphasize the reality of constancy and security through a variety of
specific behaviors. For example, group leaders need to respond consistently to particular behaviours.
They should maintain clear and consistent boundaries, such as specific start and end times, standards
for comportment, and ground rules for speaking
3-Motivation:-n In order to establish a good working rapport with every member of the group, the group
leaders should be able to address each member by name. It is also important to inculcate a sense of
motivation in the members in order to optimize every member’s contribution to group processes.
A 4-Firm identity-A firm sense of their own identities, together with clear reflection on experiences in group, enables
leaders to understand and manage their own emotional lives. For example, therapists who are aware of
their own capacities and tendencies can recognize their own defenses as they come into play in the
group.Group work can be extremely intense emotionally.
Leaders who are not in control of their own
emotional reactions can do significant harm—particularly if they are unable to admit a mistake and
apologize for it. A group leader also should be emotionally healthy and keenly aware of personal
emotional problems, lest they become confused with the urgent issues faced by the group as a whole.
The leader should be aware of the boundary between personal and group issues.
5-Confidence-Effective group leaders operate between the certain and the uncertain. In that zone, they cannot rely
on formulas or supply easy answers to clients’ complex problems. Instead, leaders have to model the
consistency that comes from self‐knowledge and clarity of intent, while remaining attentive to each
client’s experience and the unpredictable unfolding of each session’s work. This secure grounding
enables the leader to model stability for the group.
Different Style of Leadership-
When the task to be accomplished is unclear or difficult to be achieved, the leader
ensures its successful accomplishment through clearly defining individual tasks and
role expectations of members. His intervention is meaningful in such instances.
However, this style may not be suitable where the tasks in question are well
defined and easy to attain.
The leader shows high concern towards group members and their needs. This
style is suitable for groups working on well-defined tasks. Members under the
supportive leader are found to be happy and highly satisfied.
Here, the leader involves the group members in decision-making and in all functions
of the group. Discussions, consultations, and group consensus are stressed upon.
However, this calls for members who are responsible and who understand the
importance of their contribution to the group’s success.
Medha Patkar pioneer of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (Save the Narmada
Movement) is considered to be a charismatic leader for the following reasons:
(i) ability to inspire followers towards goals that appear incredible to the common
man (ii) vision about the future (iii) understanding followers’ needs and limitations.
This highlights on leaders who inspire followers to transcend their own self-interests and who are capable of having a profound and extraordinary effect on
followers. Seven characteristics were found: sincerity of the leader; bonding – the effort to develop the organization as a family by personalized relationships;
consultation and participation; collectivization and teamwork; empowerment and
support; serving as a role model; bringing in changes continuously while maintaining
continuity and being innovative”
Leadership and Power
Power refers to the worker’s resources for changing conditions inside and outside
the group. Actual power depends on the sources of a worker’s influence. The
power bases described by French and Raven (1959) follow:
Connection power – being able to call on and use influential people or
Expert power – having the knowledge or skill to facilitate the work of the
Information power – possessing information that is valuable to and needed
Legitimate power – holding a position of authority and the rights that accrue
to that position in the organization or larger social system
Reference power – being liked and admired; the group members want to
be identified with the worker
Reward power – being able to offer social or tangible rewards
Coercive power – being able to sanction, punish, or deny access to resources
Power and leadership are largely interconnected. The effective leader understands
that legitimate power and influence are needed to direct the group, especially. leader has to take up a mature use of power rather than being uncomfortable
or too much in control. This power should be used to empower the group towards
shouldering responsibilities willingly and also in successfully completing them.
Groups need leaders to avoid disorganization and chaos; leadership and power
are inseparable (Etzioni, 1961). The leader needs to aid power-sharing with the
group by highlighting the importance of member-to-member communication rather
than member-to-leader communication.