Does Group Think Exist Within Your Team Decision-Making Process?
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Does Group Think Exist Within Your Team Decision-Making Process?

  Aug 25 2014

# Leadership and Management

While a team working together can produce better ideas and decisions but, we need to be careful of “Group Think”. It exists when team members give in to pressure to conform to the team, suppressing their own views, ideas and worries resulting in everybody agreeing without any dissent. It happens when too high a price is placed on team consensus and solidarity which drives out realistic appraisal of alternatives. Group Think might lead to less-than-optimum and blind-spot team decisions, even incorrect decisions. It occurs for a variety of reasons: Desire of the team members to belong and their fear of isolation, afraid to appear ignorant, not wanting to put at risk relationships with the other team members, afraid to disagree with the team leader, etc.   Group Think For spotting Group Think within your team, consider the following symptoms:
  • Invincibility: Team becoming over-optimistic because there are no warning voices
  • Rationalization: Team is quick to find justification to explain away evidence that doesn’t fit with what they’re used to
  • Stereotyping: Team gets into the habit of judging people and stop noticing disagreeing evidence
  • Pressure: Team exerts subtle pressure to any doubting voice to keep it quiet
  • Self-censorship: Team members discuss their “real” feelings or doubts outside the meeting in order not to disturb cohesiveness
  • Unanimity: Since it is important, once a decision has been reached, any divergent view is automatically screened-out of member’s minds
  • Mind-guards: Team members appoint themselves as bodyguards to the decision: “He needs all the support we can give him”
  • Promptness: Agreements are reached too quick, too easy
  What to do about it?
  • Be aware of Group Think, detect some of the above symptoms
  • Individuals need to be encouraged and protected in expressing unpopular or minority views
  • Regard initial agreement as such: “initial”, probe for alternatives, even promote disagreement
  • Be concerned about the quiet members who may be suppressing their views
  • Let team members write their opinion anonymously on paper slips
  • Bring in outsiders who have nothing to be afraid of
  • Team leader to state his/her opinion last, if at all

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