Group Think – Part 2

groupYesterday, we started looking at the phenomenon of Group Think. Here, people tend to have their feelings and perceptions validated by friends or team members. However, this becomes unhealthy when it exacerbates what may be a small problem with a person or issue, or where emotion overrides (and maybe contradicts) the associated facts of what is being discussed.

When people are comfortable within their circle and then affirm mutual perceptions about others, for example, they will usually base this on some objective evidence as a justification for unhealthy emotion. The problem is when group members then become convinced that their solidarity and sensibleness is sufficient authority for their views, without the required discussions and clarifications with all of the right people.

Unfortunately, people sometimes not only tend to elevate unhealthy emotions or preconceptions within their circle, but they further ostracise those about whom they speak (especially family, friends and work colleagues). Maturity calls for an inclusivity that affirms the value of others’ humanness in which more and different perspectives often need to be considered through extra conversations. This means ‘going the extra mile’. That’s why leadership can be hard at times, because it requires conversations for which we don’t have time but must make time (and that’s on top of the ones we may not even know we need to have!)

Those outside our usual circles often show commendable values, such as integrity and industry. They may be connected to our lives in some meaningful way and may also lack any compelling reason for rejection. There are many reasons – if these are actually needed – as to why people warrant the work that is required to strengthen relationships that Group Think conversations with others can undermine, and that is for our benefit as well as theirs.


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