C11 Group members

Participatory Techniques

Groups are made up of all kinds of people but there are a few types that can be found in nearly all groups:

  • Complainers – people who rarely find anything good in other people’s views and decisions and are quick to complain.
  • Know-it-alls – people who are always convinced their views are right and often persuade others to follow them, sometimes creating division within the group.
  • Quiet members – people who rarely share their opinions and do not want to take any responsibility or make decisions.
  • Positive members – people who carefully consider ideas before reaching their own view or opinion. They join in discussion and share in decision-making. These people are usually the committed centre of a group.
  • Traditionalists – people who dislike change or taking risks with anything new.
  • Bridge-builders – people who like others to feel at peace with each other and happy with decisions made. They take time to sort out disagreements.


  • Is there ever likely to be the perfect group?
  • Encourage discussion about how group members can learn to appreciate the many different roles and personalities that have been suggested for possible group members. Be careful not to allow people to become personal and start making comments about each other.
  • Which of these different types of people are less common within groups?
  • Ask participants to suggest practical ways of encouraging each of these different personalities to play supportive roles within a group.