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close this bookCommunity Participation in Problem-solving: Leadership (HABITAT, 1989, 35 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentGuidelines for the trainer
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentA statement of principles
View the documentI. Styles of leadership
View the documentII. The power of leaders
View the documentIII. The maturity of groups
View the documentIV. Leading a problem-solving group
View the documentV. Using participatory problem-solving techniques
View the documentBibliography

Guidelines for the trainer

These guidelines (blue) are intended for the trainer only. They explain the rationale for the module and offer some suggestions for using it in training workshops.

This module is one of a series of three on:



Ideally, the three should be worked through in sequence but they are also designed to be used independently, depending on the knowledge and experience of a particular group of trainees.


The first module sets out the basic framework for problem-solving and decision-making. It introduces a number of key concepts related to analysing problem situations and preparing action plans It presents a three-stage process of problem-solving and decision-making, which is made up of eight operational steps.

The second module focuses on the problems and potentials of leading project staff and community groups through problem- solving and decision-making activities.

The third module concentrates on the conflicts that are bound to occur in coping with the problems of human settlements projects.

The models of problem-solving and decision-making that are described in all the modules are drawn from a variety of fields - industry, counselling, community development and social-work but they are related to the specific context of the development and improvement of low-income human settlements.


Since the focus of this module is on leadership, the activities or "tasks" which are included in the text are mainly designed for group work. The aim is that the tasks should stimulate ideas which will then be taken up in the text of this module. Therefore, activity followed by discussion should be the main pattern of any workshop based on this material.


Three days
Here is a suggested format for such a workshop:

Day One

1. Introduction - outline of the objectives and methods of the workshop.

2. Presentation - a review of the problem-solving techniques contained in the previous manual.

(This will be a reminder of the main considerations affecting participatory problem-solving: those characteristics are expressed in the "statement of principles")

3. Activity - Task 1: Discovering your leadership

(This exercise should help to identify the three main styles which provide the basic framework for the rest of the manual. Some sensitivity is called for in handling the result of the self-scoring. It might be necessary to point out the limitations of such an activity for actually determining someone's style in the field.)

4. Discussion - reactions to the categorization: directing/consulting/facilitating.

How valid are the Interactive patterns presented? How do they relate to participants' observations as to how development projects are commonly conducted?

5. Activity - Task 2: What powers do l/they have?

This is an individual exercise which should easily lead into a discussion of the roles of project staff and local leaders.

6. Activity - Task 3: The exhibition

A group simulation which could reveal many things - but the focus here is on what is demonstrated about the varied knowledge and skills of a typical group of project workers. The listed "points for discussion" should help to keep the follow-up discussion on track.

Day Two 1. Discussion - responses from the participants to the list of "expected behaviours".

How do these match their own observations and experience of community groups?

2. Activity - Task 4: The listening game.

An exercise which dramatically demonstrates some of the limitations of communication within a group.

(This exercise is also described in the Trainer's Manual. Your own role as "referee" at the beginning could be crucial, because participants usually have some difficulty in following the rules at first and, unless they stick to them, most of the learning that can come from the experience is lost.)

3. Activity - Task 5: Leadership options.

An individual, reflective exercise which should bring out further points related to effective, facilitating leadership.

4. Activity - Task 6: The problem group.

A key activity, inasmuch as this role-play should provide much material that can be related to what has been said in the text about both maintenance and task functions of a leader.

(If you do not have much experience of running role-days, have a look at chapter VIII of Community Participation A Trainer's Manual - especially at the section concerned with the linking of the action to the perspectives that have been treated in the text.)

Day Three

The third day could be given over to group work related to the specific problem-solving techniques of brainstorming and force field analysis. This is an opportunity for participants to try out these approaches within a group. It is one thing to know about an experiential method - it is another thing to know how to use it. Therefore, it is important that the participants be able to build up their confidence for managing such activities. They could work through a number of problem-situations devised by themselves as relevant to their own work settings.