Leadership and Group Member Roles

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Individualism is a dominant feature of modern Western life. However, there are numerous jobs that individuals are expected to complete in groups. Organizations rely on teams to find new methods to capitalize on current opportunities while mitigating risks. The performance of group tasks differs from that of solo tasks because the group organizes its members into various leadership and member positions and functions. A human being's behavior in a group is frequently impacted by the other persons in the group. This research contends that group members' initial interactions influence their self-esteem. Their ability to perform in the group henceforth fully depends on how other members perceive and interact with them. High and medium self-esteem is often associated with courage. Individuals with confidence ranging between these two levels are usually free to speak their mind and act. In the other side, those with low self-esteem are often associated with restraint. They will participate in group activities with so much caution and fear that they are not doing the right thing. Their participation in group discussions is also limited because they are not sure about how group members will react to their ideas.

The Effect of Self-Esteem on Group Member Roles and Leadership

A person’s behavior is usually modified within a group. However, different people will react variously to similar scenarios. These differences can be accounted for through self-concept. Self-esteem refers to the belief of an individual about himself or herself. It is heavily influenced by self-assessment. Self-esteem can be categorized as low, high and medium. It is a subjective trait which can be quantified in researches using tools such as the Likert scale.

Cast & Burke (2002) categorize self-esteem as an outcome. According to Maslow (1943), self-esteem is motivated by two categories of needs: the need for self-respect and the need for respect from others (Da Costa, 2014). Self-respect is made up of mastery, freedom, achievement and competence. Respect from others is evident through acceptance, appreciation, status and recognition (Zeigler‐Hill, 2006; Cast & Burke, 2002). In the case of the group under study, the second category of needs is more relevant because it entails how the members interpret respect from others using what goes on in the interactions.

This group is made up of different people who may not have worked with each other before. This means that the second category of needs under respect of others needs to be met to define the niche of each member (Mehdizadeh, 2010). When the group starts working, each member will be looking out for the attitude of others towards them. The actions of each volunteer towards another will be used to decode the level of acceptance, appreciation, status and recognition that every person receives (Abrams & Hogg, 1988). Some members will receive similar treatment but may come up with different definitions. This is due to earlier experiences that contribute towards self-respect.

The group of volunteers is composed of individuals who are in the adolescence stage and have gone through numerous life stages. People’s experiences during development give them an opportunity to discover and build respect towards themselves (Locke, 2009; Rosenberg et al., 1995). By volunteering, these persons have demonstrated that they have some degree of self-respect and want to elevate it. This shows that they have confidence that their competence can be of good use to the society. In addition, the activity is meant to enhance their achieving thus increasing self-respect (Mehdizadeh, 2010). Therefore, self-respect of the members is already catered for and it is upon the group members to give each other a positive impression that they respect their ideas and actions.

Despite the fact that group interactions will form new levels of self-esteem in individuals, it is important to note all the members already have a certain level of self-assessment. This self-esteem is complete with the self-concept that has been created by past experiences. As noted above, the self-respect factor will remain constant. The only aspect that can be modeled in this case is respect from others, which will then influence self-concept and self-esteem. In a random group like the one in this case, important that there are persons with different levels of self-concept and self-esteem (Barry, Frick & Killian, 2003). Though there are three levels of self-esteem, some scholars have deemed appropriate that excess self-esteem is referred to using a different term. According to Sedikides et al. (2004), narcissism is a term referring to excess admiration for oneself, self-centeredness and the love for attention by an individual. It is important that the group leaders single out such individuals because there are high tendencies that their actions may lower the self-esteem of the rest of the group members. Bushman and Baumeister (2001) and Campbell, Rudich, and Sedikides (2002) note that both extremes of self-esteem have a detrimental effect on the performance of the group. However, the effect of narcissism is graver because it lowers the self-esteem of the rest of the group members (Raskin, Novacek, & Hogan, 1991).

Persons with low self-esteem will depend on the rest of the group members to lift it by showing that they have a positive perspective towards their thoughts and actions (Donnellan et al., 2005). When the other group members show acceptance, appreciation, status and recognition, these individuals will become more willing to take part in the activities and express themselves. If this fails to happen, the performance of the group will remain constant (Baumeister, Bushman, & Campbell, 2000). However, individuals exhibiting narcissism defend themselves from any threats to self-esteem, including belittling other group members (Sedikides et al., 2004; Tracy et al., 2009; Raskin et al., 1991). They will try to show that other group members are not as good as them and may take up all the leadership roles by imposing themselves on the people. In other cases, they will withdraw and create the notion that they do not deserve being in the group because they are better than everybody else.


The group is made up individuals with complete self-esteem and self-concept. However, the fact that it is yet to work together eliminates the aspects of self-concept that emanate from respect from others. The group members have the anticipation that other individuals will show them respect. If this happens, all the members will be ready to give their ideas and actively take part in the activities of the group. If members do not show acceptance, appreciation, status and recognition towards others, it will negatively affect their self-esteem and lead to poor performance. Therefore, it is upon the group members to show that they positively perceive each other to improve output and enhance collaboration between group members.


Abrams, D., & Hogg, M. A. (1988). Comments on the motivational status of self‐esteem in social identity and intergroup discrimination. European Journal of Social Psychology, 18(4), 317-334.

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April 26, 2023

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