5. Controlling Group Performance
Controlling group performance is an
important but often misunderstood function of leadership. To some, control
implies that a whip-cracking boss is in charge. Good control is far more
A group needs control to keep its members moving in the same
direction for best results. If a plan is to be properly carried out, someone
must direct the effort. Controlling is a function that the group consciously
or unconsciously assigns to the leader in order to get the job done. Skillful
control is welcomed by the group. The expression "Come on, you guys, let's get
our act together" is a plea for someone to take charge and bring the group
Control of group performance involves six basic
1. Observing. The leader should be in a
position to see the group, communicate with its members, and be available, but
not appear to dominate. Coed work is praised. Suggestions, rather than orders,
are given for improvements.
2. Instructing. The
leader must often give instructions as the work proceeds and the situation
changes. The leader must communicate well, apply the skill of effective
teaching, and allow members to use their own initiative. As long as the work
is progressing well, the leader should not intrude.
Helping. When a group has decided that it wants to perform a
task, the leader must help the members be successful. The leader does a good
job personally, takes a positive approach, and gives a helping hand when
needed. Care is taken to see that an offer to help is not implied criticism.
4. Inspecting. The leader must know what to expect to
see. The leader should know the plan and the skills involved. A checklist is
valuable. If the work is not correct, the worker is led to the proper
performance of the task. Again, a positive approach with helpful suggestions
for improvement is vital.
5. Reacting. How the leader
reacts to the efforts of the group is important. Praise the person if the work
is good, but the praise must be sincere. If the work is not correct, praise
the parts that were done well and accept responsibility for work not done
well. A reaction such as "Gosh, I guess I didn't explain it very well" doesn't
hurt the leader but makes the person feel good about corrections that are
suggested. React to the total job--do not focus on obvious weak points.
6. Setting the example. The most effective way of
controlling group performance is the personal example of the leader. How the
leader observes, instructs, helps, inspects, and reacts is vital.
Wood Badge Skills Index