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Leading from Experience: Developing the Consultative Stance
The Austen Riggs Center
Stockbridge, MA
Friday, November 22, 2019, 6:00 PM to Sunday, November 24, 2019, 1:30 PM EST
Category: Training Events

The Center for the Study of Groups and Social Systems and the Austen Riggs Center are pleased to announce a weekend training workshop: 

Leading from Experience: Developing the Consultative Stance

Where: The Austen Riggs Center 

25 Main St. 
Stockbridge, MA 01262 

Beginning: Friday, 11/22/19, 6:00 pm 
Ending: Sunday, 11/24/19, 1:30 pm 

Faculty: Donna Elmendorf PhD., Dannie Kennedy PhD., Jim Krantz, Jerry Fromm PhD.

Registration Fee for Consulting Participants: $500 
Registration Fee for Non-Consulting Participants: $450

This Workshop is designed to strengthen participants’ ability to exercise leadership through drawing on the consultative stance, in whatever work roles they occupy.   Building on concepts and practices within the Group Relations tradition, the Workshop emphasizes the value of inner experience as an important guide to advancing work in any group or organizational context. Through the consultative stance, people may be able to connect what they are experiencing and observing with important issues affecting the group’s work.  They thus might provide a form of leadership by helping others into deeper, more sophisticated engagement with the group’s primary task.

For those unfamiliar with it, the Group Relations tradition involves a framework for understanding group dynamics, especially in relation to authority. The Group Relations tradition (1) studies the group-as-a-whole, as if the group can be thought of as a living entity somewhat distinct from its individual participants, and 2) focuses on what seems to be happening in the immediacy of the moment, that is, the here-and-now emotional life of the group. Consultants to this kind of self-study group focus on the group, rather than on individuals, and they take up only a consulting role, rather than a leadership role as that might be more usually defined.

The consultative stance – whether taken up formally in a consulting role or informally in a member role - involves being immersed in the dynamics of a group and paying attention to what we find ourselves feeling, thinking about and reacting to. These experiences provide a window into what might be going on just outside of people’s awareness. Speaking to this experience from one’s role and checking it against the experience of others can help the work of a group evolve, particularly as it leads to discovering previously unseen contexts and potentially challenging dynamics. Taking a consultative stance creates an opportunity to exercise this form of leadership. 

Because the consultative stance is relevant to leadership in a range of settings, the Workshop is not focused on developing participants’ capacity to work as consultants in Group Relations Conferences. Nevertheless, a small self-study group is used to provide a grounding for participants to experience and deepen how they take up the consultative stance.Participants may take up formal consultative roles in the Small Study Group, followed by focused reflection with faculty, or they may participate simply as participants.  There will also be an opportunity for application, in which participants lead an examination of their back-home organizational dilemmas through the window of their experiences there and in the workshop. Consulting roles in the Small Study Group are open to anyone who has had at least one Group Relations Conference experience or an equivalent group experience.  There are a limited number of consulting opportunities, and they are available on a first-to-sign-up basis. Those who choose the consultant role will be assigned to co-consulting teams, who will then take turns consulting to the group process of fellow participants.  Non-consulting participants will have the opportunity to observe the reflections of the consultants after each session.  There is no prior Group Relations experience required for non-consulting participants.  .   

Note: The registration fee includes dinner on Friday evening, and breakfast and lunch on Saturday and Sunday.  Participants will be responsible for dinner on Saturday evening and for making their own lodging arrangements.

Space is limited to 28 attendees. Apply now at Leading From Experience Application.


Contact: [email protected]