Sunday, January 6, 2013

Leadership of the Small Writing Group, Part II


Good leaders lead. Leaders need to delegate. In small groups, especially those which experience considerable membership turnover, the facilitators or loyal volunteers are apt to take on so many duties, they have little time left to write.
“Many hands make light the work.” Writers who want to gain the most from meetings agree with that adage, and prevent one person from becoming overtaxed with time-consuming tasks. Depending on the number of participants willing to share responsibilities a group might consider the following positions and their responsibilities:

Host and co-host: If your group meets in a restaurant, your host’s main duty is probably getting a head count if the facility requires it. Whether it’s an apartment club room or home, the host must make sure the meeting room is set up, and help guests feel at home. Usually one or more will volunteer to help with preparation and clean up. If not the facilitator should call for a co-host.

Critique Attendant and/or Time Keeper: This person should be aware of policies with regard to your group’s critique sessions, and make sure that part of the meeting runs on schedule. When the workload is heavy, s/he needs to divide critique time more or less evenly between all participants, and call “Time” if/ when a member runs over his or her allotted time to speak.

Librarian: If the group has a book exchange program, the librarian updates the books on the list members have available to lend out. The librarian should make available a dictionary, thesaurus, and grammar guide for each meeting.

Liaison: If your group is sponsored by or affiliated with a larger organization or is part of a writing group network, the liaison officer function as a link between the entities. Suggested duties:
·          At regular intervals submits an activity update to other groups or sponsor.
·          Keeps up with resources offered by the larger organization. For example, classes or activities they sponsor, literature available for distribution, and so forth.

Coordinator: This member is the group’s cheerleader. If budgeted, provides awards for goals met, checks on members who have been absent, and helps to arrange field trips or social activities if membership is interested in such functions.

The positions listed above are merely suggestions. One group may employ a grammarian, another a computer expert, or a photographer to record activities. Primarily, it’s important that the bulk of the work should never fall on the shoulders of one person. Secondly, a group should take advantage of members’ talents and willingness to help.

© Bernice W. Simpson 

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