Thursday, September 4, 2008

Groupthink in Not Team Work

Leading a team discussion with a group of corporate adults within the workforce we (Create-Learning) serve your team to develop a culture where team members speak their mind - while avoiding the group think mentality. By avoiding group think team members feel empowered to speak their opinions, leading to team member commitment. Creating trust and comfort that what is expressed and said about the team is for the greater development of the existing team and to put personal agendas aside. If at some point team members see that others are attempting to advance personal agendas we call out the behavior.

When team members behavior is questioned participants often times cross their arms and "buy out" of the process. Once the "buy out" takes place team building facilitators must lean into this situation and lead a discussion that re-engages the team members who has just exited from the team flow and discussion. This is where group think becomes a concern. If team members just go along with the flow and do not feel a comfort level to speak their opinions this creates water cooler talk and the ever popular, "I knew if said something it would be shot down immediately, they never do what I say anyway.", and one of my favorites, "If they would listen to what I said it would be successful." while the team member who has left the process sits with a body language that is clearly - LEAVE ME ALONE -.

The emotional hijack that takes place can lead to the group think.

9. Avoid groupthink.

Following the crowd is fine if you’re making that choice consciously. We’ve all heard the saying “if so and so told you to jump off a cliff, would you do it?” I always thought that that was the most idiotic question. That doesn’t prove anything. That’s just stupid. And it’s not what I’m talking about here.

What I mean is following the group because you’re afraid of standing out. You’re afraid of being seen, being heard. Because, geez, if you do that you might actually have to defend your opinion.

Don’t be afraid to be different. Ghandi was different. Einstein was different. People used to think they were crazy, radical and had possible birth defects (just kidding). Now they are considered geniuses.

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-Michael Cardus serves as an Adventure Consultant for Create-Learning Team Building. Mike facilitates, trains, and speaks to groups in a variety of settings including Fortune 500 Companies, small business, universities and classrooms. Currently he lives in Buffalo NY, he travels to serve your groups needs - where and when your group desires.