Groupthink is toxic for organizations dreaming of success. Great leaders don’t lower themselves to the standards of average people. It doesn’t even have to boil down to a high tech company or an advanced team of NASA rocket scientists. When you let go of your own individual thought, you sacrifice the potential of the group decision.
The next time you find yourself amongst a group of people talking about gossip pay attention.
- One person will start demonizing another person assuming that the whole group is in agreement.
- 3 or 4 other’s will nod in agreement and not ask any other questions despite the fact that they might hold opposing viewpoints.
- The last 2 in the group might be hesitant and either remain silent or slowly conform to what everyone else is thinking.
- Rarely will a true critical thinker stand up to everyone else to give their own perspective.
It’s easy to agree with what everyone else is saying.
No one has time for conflict, and it’s intimidating to project yourself against the tide of others.
If you question the majority of the group you’ll run the risk of looking like a fool. Great leaders could care less about what other people think of him or her.
These thoughts are human nature, but once you recognize this type of behavior you can be a maverick and go against the norm.
I recently watched the Henry Fonda classic 12 Angry Men. If you haven’t watched it yet, I highly recommend it. Allow me to quickly summarize the movie for you:
- There’s a group of jurors who must unanimously decide the fate of a man who is on trial for killing his father.
- After each testimony and witness statement the facts seem clear. The group is ready to vote “Guilty” and send the man to the electric chair for a death penalty punishment.
- Out of the group of 12, only 1 raises his hand to vote “Not Guilty.”
This free thinker reminds the group about the consequence of this man’s sentence. He also brings up how the group shouldn’t be so quick to jump to conclusions. This is an 18 year old man- a boy, who’s fate rests on the unanimous decision of the group.
The men are outraged by this lone dissenter. They don’t have time to talk about something that seems so clear. The maverick lashes back and questions everyone’s judgement.
The 11 other men laugh at his opinion and argue that he can talk all he wants, but it’s obvious that the boy is guilty.
At the end of the night, the loner turns everyone in favor of “not guilty.”
It’s never revealed if the boy was truly innocent or not, but that one critical thinker saved the group from making a careless decision so quickly.
Don’t worry about making yourself look like a fool. If you notice something off, you have the right to hold your own opinion.
Who cares if everyone will think you’re an idiot..
It doesn’t matter if it’s you against everyone else…
Great leaders speak up because they know they may save everyone from a disastrous situation!