Help Out-Group Members Feel Included William Schutz

Help Out-Group Members Feel Included William Schutz  pointed out that, in small group situations, one of our strongest interpersonal needs is to know whether we belong to the group. Are we “in” or “out”? The very nature of out-groups implies that their members are on the sidelines and peripheral to the action. Out-group members do not feel as if they belong, are included, or are “in.” Schutz suggested that people have a need to be connected to others. They want to be in a group, but not so much a part of the group that they lose their own identity. They want to belong, but do not want to belong so much that they lose their sense of self.

Although it is not always easy, a leader can help out-group members be more included. A leader can watch the communication cues given by out-group members and try to respond in appropriate ways. For example, if a person sits at the edge of the group, the leader can put the chairs in a circle and invite the person to sit in the circle. If a person does not follow the group norms (e.g., does not go outdoors with everyone else during breaks), the leader can personally invite the out-group member to join the others outside. Similarly, if a group member is very quiet and has not contributed, a leader can ask for that group member’s opinion. Although there are many different ways to help out-group members to be included, the bottom line is that a leader needs to be sensitive to out-group members’ needs and try to respond to them in ways that help the out-group members know that they are part of the larger group.

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