November 15 to 19 I attended a five day UGL (Understanding Group and Leader) course. It was a great course, I learned more about group dynamics and leadership plus got more self-insight. We were eight attending and during the week we went from strangers to a very well functioning group, learning along the way. Action based learning is terrific but it’s also intense since you’re part of the process.

We had three fedback exercises (Monday, Wednesday and Thursday), all different and very useful. On Friday we did an action plan, what shall we do in order to get better as leaders and group members. We made a copy of the plan, it will be mailed to us later as a reminder.

I really enjoyed the course, I learned a lot (new things as well as refreshing some old) about group dynamics and myself. It takes time to digest it all and see how I can make the best use of it going forward.

Understanding Group and Leader (UGL)

Source image and quoted text: The UGL course, information in English.

The course, Understanding Group and Leader (UGL), has been used as a basic leadership course within the Swedish Armed Forces for more than 20 years. It has also become popular and widespread outside the Swedish Total Defence Establishment.

The overall objective of the course is for the participants to become more effective as group members, leaders and trainers.

UGL provides training in how a group develops and matures over time, what happens in the group during the course of this development and what behaviour or actions promote or inhibit constructive development. Within UGL, this is referred to as group dynamics. The course also deals with the problems and possibilities of leadership related to the development of the group’s maturity, and what style of leadership will promote both task solving and group development.

Throughout the UGL course, learning occurs through experience of situations reflecting group dynamics and understanding your own role in these situations or dynamics. During this course you will have the opportunity to:
* participate in an experiential (experience based) learning model
* increase insight into your own personality
* learn to identify and to handle conflict
* learn to communicate in a direct and clear way
* learn to give and to receive effective feedback
* learn to recognize different phases of a group’s development
* understand that there is a need for different leadership styles
* increase self-confidence and self-insight

Course values
The course is built on these values:
* People are the most important resource in an organisation.
* Contact and cooperation between people in an organisation should be characterised by openness, trust and a feeling of solidarity. Attitudes and behaviour that can be seen as lacking respect for the dignity of others are not acceptable.
* The unity and the collective resources of a group are decisive whether or not and how the tasks will be completed. Knowledge and understanding of the interactions between people are therefore a condition of good leadership.
* Leadership is the manager’s ability to create the conditions that will allow co-workers’ personalities, knowledge, interests, power of initiative and willingness to cooperate, to be used to complete set tasks in the best way.

To this we add a clear value which stresses that every person is unique and has development potential. Uniqueness means that people are individual and are not interchangeable. The development potential is seen as an alternative to a more static view of people.

UGL includes opportunities for you to experience the processes of development and uniqueness – plus it is a real opportunity for you to be you.

Differences enrich, even in learning situations. The group should therefore be composed of people from as different categories as possible, differences in age, sex, professional background, etc. Within UGL variation is seen as beneficial to the learning process.