A Chama is begun with the main purpose of making investments together, although some conservative chamas were social groups that gave women a place to interact and spend time together. However, most modern groups will be started mainly for the investments, and social connections are not very emphasized. Given most people are in formal jobs and group members barely get ample time to interact with each other, the group at long last becomes a cold money-generating machine with no human connection. Which should not be the case.
A Chama should provide a platform for members to form closer social bonds with each other. This however does not happen by default, but is something that members and especially group leaders must deliberately pursue. Necessary plans and team building activities must be put in place to give group members opportunity to interact with each other.
How a group can improve social relationships among members?
It’s okay to have differing views.
One of the causes of poor social relations in groups is conflict of opinions. It’s important to have in mind that where different people come together, there is bound to be different opinions. Different views should not only be embraced but encouraged for they help to bring variety of ideas to the group.
Members must learn to find common ground and focus on what unites them rather than those issues that could split them apart. This will involve having respect for each other’s views, and being polite during conversations. Members should not shout each other down or boo each other. No good social relationship will be developed without a sense of respect for each other’s views.
Genuine concern for each other.
Members need to show genuine concern for each other’s lives. It’s okay to go beyond the confines of the group so as to make a member to feel valued and cared for. This will foster a feeling of belonging and mutual support.
For instance, a group could take time and visit a sick member at home or at hospital. They could also organize visits and presents for a new father or father to be, celebrate birthdays together and arrange for parties that every member gets to attend. These may seem insignificant but truth is they help to cement relationships between members.
Interact beyond meeting times.
Some group members never get to interact with each other between group meetings. Once they talk during the meeting, they will only get to see each other in the next meeting-which cannot be completely blamed on them because some of these members have busy personal lives. However, with proper plans, it can be made possible for these members to interact beyond the meetings. There are many activities that the leadership can organize to keep the members together. However, these will require the commitment and good will of every member for them to be successful.
Transparency is key.
When it comes to matters of group interest, it is important to be completely transparent and honest and ensure all members are on the same page. Especially when it involves group leadership and financial matters, no member should feel alienated and left out in the group. It’s important to note that lack of communication is as bad as poor communication, and therefore group meetings must be leveraged fully to pass across vital messages well.
Transparency leads to trust among members. It is that trust which holds the group together. Mistrust will most likely occur in matters of money and investments. The treasurer must be careful to keep u to date, accurate records of group accounts which can be made available whenever needed by any member. In such situations, digital book keeping assistants like Chamasoft come in handy. Chamasoft gives each member an accurate summary of both personal and group finances at any given time.
Values are those subtle, unspoken rules that govern our social relationships. Aside from the formal group by-laws, these help in a great way to cement relationships among members. It lies majorly on the group leader to define these values and help members to adopt them. They could be respect, courtesy, honesty or openness.
Define roles and responsibilities clearly.
A major cause of chaos in groups is poorly undefined roles. When group members are not sure of what they are expected to do in the group, confusion is bound to arise followed by finger-pointing. People will begin to blame each other when something goes wrong or that business deal is lost. This confusion not only causes misunderstanding but also wastage of time.
Group leaders must ensure that duties are well defined and every member does his/her part in the group. This does not mean that if a certain member is absent then his role will remain unattended. On the contrary, a sense of responsibility should be instilled in each member, an understanding that is each one’s responsibility to see the group running smoothly.
Of course, it may not be easy to foster these relations, but they are worth working upon. Trust is built, and when group members trust each other, it will greatly contribute to the success of the group. It is not just a responsibility of the leaders alone, but a duty that every member must embrace; to be caring, open, develop shared values, respect each other’s views and have clearly defined roles for members.
Tags: cohesion, unity
Categorised in: chama management
This post was written by Victor Makau
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