But Can the Team Be Friends

Even if the boss manages to find a way to be caring, even close, without being friends, what types of relationships among the staff should the manager nurture?  When You Don’t Want Employees to Agree by Katie Loehrke and published in CLO Magazine, suggests that:

Harmony in the workplace is a good thing, but often conflict is needed to keep a team efficient and innovative.

Loehrke raises the concern that:

Most leaders are happy when a group reaches a consensus, but if a group arrives at a major decision without much discussion and with few variations in thought, consider what’s really going on. Did the team agree because their solution was truly the best option, or could one of these other sets of circumstances have occurred?

In other words, people confuse a seeming consensus because they prefer it to the conflict and delays that might ensue in reaching an actual consensus.

Several situations cause this: people choosing not to state their opinions for fear of disrupting group harmony, for lack of better solutions than the one proposed, or for fear of earning a reputation as a troublemaker.

The result is groupthink; although it creates short-term peace, it can disrupt long-term performance because important issues that team members could have raised never made their way into the discussion.

Loehrke suggests a couple of causes for group think:

  • Intimidation by one or a small group of people, which prevents some people from speaking up for fear of consequences.  The dominator might be the manager but it might also result from team dynamics.  Fixing that dynamic involves exploring how it came to be and how it operates.
  • Hiring people who think alike because they have similar backgrounds and experiences.  Certainly hiring a more diverse workforce can address some of that, but it’s amazing how people from diverse backgrounds can, at the core, think alike.  Hiring diversely also means hiring diverse personality types and opinions.

Preventing group think also involves effective facilitation techniques for meetings, which can bring diverse opinions to the fore in a non-threatening way.

To learn more, check out the article at http://clomedia.com/articles/view/when-you-don-t-want-employees-to-agree/.

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About idmodelsandprocesses

Exploring, reporting, teaching, and advising on learning and communication for the workplace and consumers. saulcarliner.wordpress.com
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