Empowerment Leadership Model for Small Groups, Teams, & Families
Course Two, Lesson 14
Getting Outside Help for Members
if Necessary for the Accomplishment of the Purpose
Note: Whenever "group" or "team" is used, it can mean "group", "team", or "family".
Sometimes the group has to assist members get outside help. Occasionally a group member will have an assigned task and need more of something to carry out the assignment. The successful group helps people get what they need to carry out their group responsibilities.
A valuable member of the project team may have a failing marriage that preoccupied his mind. The wise team will help him get counseling, not only for his marriage’s sake, but also for the sake of the team that needs his valuable contributions.
Let me give a few more examples of a group getting its members to sources of outside help. A group of group foster home kids might see that one of its group gets extra help at school for a difficult subject. A therapy group might make a recommendation of a reliable auto mechanic so a member can fix her car and be able to get to group. An activity group might need to get a directory of the fun things to do in the community. A group of single parents on public assistance might help a member get help at a free medical facility.
I'll never forget the public school in the middle of a huge housing project in the South Bronx in New York City where I worked with delinquent sixth graders. One Puerto Rican boy named Manuel came into the group one day and declared that he needed help in school. The group quickly discovered that he was having trouble with English. When one youngster suggested he have his mother help him, the group learned that his mother didn't speak English. So the group took on the problem to solve. Eventually the group decided that Manuel should go to a special class offered after school.
But Manuel said, "No, I don't want to go to that class. If I go to that special class, I'll be put in the 'dumbest' reading group." Unfortunately, the school did separate kids based on ability. Manuel had done a lot to get out of the "dumbest classroom," and now he wanted to do even better. The group talked about it and decided that they all would go with Manuel to talk to the special reading teacher. They would negotiate with the teacher so Manuel could get help and not have to go to the poorest reading group.
You can imagine what that teacher thought when this group of kids, the feared group who had maimed four teachers for life, came walking in to negotiate on Manuel's behalf. They were successful, and Manuel got the help he needed without being punished for requesting help, as had others before him.
Next, let's look at how a group needs to identify and utilize available resources that can speed the group on its way to its purpose.