Groupthink is an issue that can affect any organization and team in the workplace and in personal life. The official definition of Groupthink is “the practice of thinking or making decisions as a group in a way that discourages creativity or individual responsibility.” This can be dangerous because it leads to the loss of original ideas and creativity. It can also cause people to become uncomfortable standing up against something they disagree with out of fear of not being accepted by their team. Groupthink should be avoided at all costs, and below we will discuss different methods to do so, as featured in an article on Marconet.
Firstly, you will want to make sure you are building a diverse team. Starting with hiring and promotions, you do not only want people on your team who think exactly like you. Being a successful leader means allowing those with different skill sets and backgrounds to shine in their respective departments. Recognizing and embracing diversity and individuality is a vital step towards building an unstoppable force of a team. Next, structure your meetings with intention. If a meeting consists of only one person speaking and leading the discussion, it eliminates room for new ideas and feedback that could benefit the entire company.
If someone in the meeting seems to be feeling like an outsider, do your best to engage them properly. Dominant personalities tend to overtake the meetings, so it is essential to give everyone a chance to speak and communicate their thoughts comfortably, even if they do not seem eager to participate at first. Also, you want to obtain feedback that is unfiltered. You want to ask the right questions that are framed in a way for people to answer openly and honestly with their own thoughts entirely. An example of a well-framed question, as provided by Marconet, could include, “We need to find someone who has the skills to lead our growing sales force successfully. Who would you recommend and why?” This way, the responder can form an unbiased opinion on the best recommendation to help the team excel.
Lastly, do not be afraid to expect conflict; sometimes, it might even be appropriate to encourage it. Healthy conflict amongst teams is important for growth and overcoming challenges. Employees are often going to have differing opinions on operating in certain situations or what is suitable for a specific instance, and it is important to let them express themselves. Oftentimes, employees will come to a compromise that works for everyone, and then no one feels like they just had to go along with something because everyone else is doing it.