Psychology of Group Leadership

Foreword

For over two decades, in England and New Zealand, the writer has been closely associated with the formation of groups and investigation of social trends, in an effort to find an alternative to the declining standards of our society. Most of what is said herein relates to the United Kingdom where he was able to take a more objective view, whereas in New Zealand he has been personally involved. In many cases, the lack of vision whereby a clear goal could be conceived and the lack of incentive to provide the necessary driving force to achieve that goal were deplorable.

We are wary of the word commune as it has gained unsavory connotations and so the word fraternity is used here, but this is just a personal preference. What a group actually is matters far more than its designation. Motive is the all important factor; unfortunately, the great majority of people are motivated almost entirely by self-interest. The motivation for establishing a fraternity should be the selfless desire to provide God’s wonderful children with a natural diet, a clean, balanced environment and a system of education based upon the principle of drawing out the child’s creative potential, rather than ‘pushing in‘ facts and figures which any reference book can supply.

Just as individuals are overwhelmingly self-centered, so are groups of individuals, and while forming or joining a group is certainly an indication of a wider interest than self, it is still insufficient. Segmented groups, acting in isolation from one another, even though they may all have a degree of common social concern, are still not contributing effectively towards a change in communal consciousness.

What is sadly lacking in almost every group is the consolidating nucleus, the rallying point, and this can be provided only by an accepted philosophy and/or a leader. In almost every instance investigated, there was some vague concept of a central theme, but it was too ill-defined to be of any value. However, in instances where the group was consolidated and harmonious, where it was operating vigorously and successfully, there was always, at the core, a particular, clearly defined philosophy and/or dedicated and respected leader.

Today, not only is our planetary environment polluted, but also our minds and bodies. The latter through media stimulated sex-orientation, drug addiction, and sensationalism, and the former through technological irresponsibility. It is a time when youth should understand its role in the Overall Plan and fulfill its own function. However, in general, it is incapable of asserting responsibility and it cannot even comprehend what is entailed.

The age of conflicting beliefs, opinions and speculations is over for ever on this planetary school of experience. Let us face facts – the truth – society today is like a decaying fruit which cannot be made wholesome and must be relegated to the compost heap, there to be transmuted. The task of concerned citizens now is to get on with the work of transmutation and to lay the foundations for a new order, and here we do not refer to the ‘new world order‘ proclaimed by the Internationalists, the ‘faceless few‘ who manipulate events behind the scenes. We refer to a world order arising out of the ashes of the new age, the flames of knowledge and truth having tempered the steel that is being forged for the structure of the Celestial Age. In this coming Age there will be a true Brotherhood of Man and Fatherhood of God. The creeds which have divided humanity will be superseded by something far greater – Universal Spirituality.

At each focusing point where there is an enlightened and cohesive grouping of people, a new way of life will be established, extolling a philosophy of reverence for Nature, for life, and the specific traditional ideals which have raised man from animality to a being capable of aspiring to Godhood. As Deputies of God on Earth we must learn to take charge of our own environment; the universe is a perfect example of law and order, of balance, in it there is a place for everything and everything is in its place.

The atom is the building block of the universe. Take the spirit nucleus out of the atom and there would be no atom – hence no universe. So, obviously, all of humankind’s creative efforts must follow the pattern of the atom. Christ built a spiritual fraternity and how He did it is a good example of the group principle. He was the spiritual nucleus and the leader; around Him were gathered twelve apostles in close communication. This was the philosophical hub at the centre of a circle of disciples, each disciple fulfilling his function by doing what he could do best in the interests of all. On the periphery of this circle were gathered those who were ‘seeking and asking‘.

Any attempts to set up a group not based on this cosmic creative principle must inevitably fail, as with our present economy which is a man-made system based upon egocentric principles. So if any fraternity is going to succeed it must have a spiritual nucleus. This was demonstrated by Peter and Eileen Caddy of Findhorn in Scotland, where there is now a thriving community of people working harmoniously together. Small, static groups are rarely successful or satisfactory and eventually fall apart. The expanding group is the one that succeeds. It appears to be a basic principle that groups either expand and flourish, or contract and dissolve.

In this handbook, the writer starts by giving a background of the cultural situation within which any prospective group must operate. Ours is purportedly a democratic society and therefore we must adopt democratic standards and conform to certain principles, but it should be emphasised that this publication advocates adherence only to those principles which demonstrably work and are practical. There is, unfortunately, far too muchairy-fairy‘ nonsense written about democracy, which the great bulk of the  people  ignore  anyway,  but  which  causes  antipathy towards the whole concept.

Having given this background, the book then deals with the setting up of a group and the problems of leadership. It does not deal with the actual mechanics, the legalistic and administrative requirements relating to group establishment, management and policies. There is ample information available on these aspects. What this publication does is to concentrate on the most neglected area of group psychology and the problems relating to individual integration into a group situation. It is the lack of this knowledge that has caused so many groups to founder, not the lack of group management.

If you are in a group or intend setting up a group for any purpose, then this book will be a great help. Just plough through the first part and by carrying out the instructions given later, all things being equal, you should have a cohesive and effective organisation.

Please Note:

To facilitate literary flow, the masculine gender has been used through the section on Leadership, although it applies to both genders.

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