Chapter 11 - Controlling the Group

This competency enables a learner to:

About Controlling the Group

A group exists for a purpose. Control is the throttle on the group's engine--the energy that gives it direction. As a leader exerts control, he balances whats the group is working towards (its purpose or task) and keeping the group happy and satisfied.

Controlling Group Performance is a close companion of the competency Setting the Example. The coordination of individual efforts for collective purpose is externally and internally controlled--by the leader and each individual herself. Setting the Example is a personal, internal manner of control that we hope others will model (when it's positive and appropriate).

The leader sets the example by doing what he expects others to do:

Control is most often an overt behavior of the leader. There are specific actions a leader can take to exert influence over a group. The leader in a group deploys the people in his patrol in a manner to promote control, breaking up destructive cliques, to encourage greater participation, etc. He stands at certain times to maintain or assert control. He counsels an individual to help him "set a better example."

The overt leader may not be the only individual exercising control. Group members may encourage one another to behave according to an unwritten group code (norms). (See Chapter 9 - "Understanding Group Needs and Characteristics" for information on understanding group norms.) Group members, knowing the group's purpose, may correct one another. Usually the group defers control to the leader of the moment. This person does his best to help members retain a sense of unity while directing the group in completing the task they are responsible for. The leader strives for a balance; we call him the "Nine-Nine" leader.

The "Nine-Nine" Leader

The leader has limited control over the environment and how it impacts the task and the group. He may or may not be able to affect the definition of the task; he has the most control over the group. So his primary job is management of the group, given the environment, to accomplish a task. This dynamic group process is an interactive model of leadership that we call the "Nine-Nine" model.1

The Nine-Nine model assumes that some leaders are very good at getting a job done but not so good at keeping the people involved and motivated. Other leaders may be dynamite at keeping everyone happy but is never successful at getting jobs done on time or to specifications.

Some members of the group may feel alienated or left out by the former leader. He's not so con-cerned about how they feel as much as getting the job done right the first time and as soon as possi-ble. He knows his boss has his eye on the results and he's out to make a good impression. This leader is called the "one-nine" leader.

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