I usually jump on any strong/weak that isn't being CC'd/tanked, and whittle 'em down ASAP. Once all the little buggers are down, then I beat the crap out of the elite.
Am I doing it right?
That might work. I have noticed with my smugglers, the thermal grenade can do great damage to the weaker ones, sometimes finishing them off with a second grenade. Maybe on a flashpoint/group assignment, the gunslingers/scoundrels can open up by tossing their grenades at the clusters and maybe the combined blasts will take down some of the weaker enemies?