How do I Manage to Minimize Groupthink?

How do I Manage to Minimize Groupthink? In the last post, I covered whether to deal with underground, and often incorrect, employee perceptions. I think you need to as a manager and doing so will help address one of the most pernicious undercurrents: groupthink. What is groupthink? Groupthink is one of several undercurrents of which most people are unaware but which can materially affect their careers. Specifically, groupthink is the tendency of a group to seek consensus even if it doesn’t produce the best solution. It is a major bar to innovation. In future, I’ll discuss the phenomenon in more detail but right now, I think it is sufficient to say that groupthink comes from an almost overwhelming need of most people to get along with their colleagues. This need can sometimes lead to papering over issues which should not be, or even starting to believe that you are in error because  of the group’s differing expressed views. This is what happened in the post on deciding holiday schedules. I realize that in the panoply of management responsibilities, deciding holiday schedules is right down there, but I chose that situation precisely because it is minor to show that undercurrents can…

What are the Undercurrents of the Dark Side?
Dark Side for Employees / March 26, 2018

What are the Undercurrents of the Dark Side? Last time I gave an example of a group meeting where you wanted to vote ‘no.’ But despite this and having promised a colleague Thomas to do so, you voted ‘yes’. Why did you do it? Thomas would say you chickened out. The others in the group might assume you saw the strength of their arguments. At the time, you thought it was about fear of repercussions and that the larger group had a point. Anyhow, your ‘no’ vote wouldn’t have made any difference to the outcome. While all these explanations are possible, I think there are deeper reasons. Organizational undercurrents I think you were caught up in an organizational undercurrent .Organizational undercurrents are persisting, behavior-shapes systems which operate under the radar of most people but nevertheless have a compelling influence on what and how work gets done. They can force you to do things opposite to your intention (as you did in the previous example) can have even more devastating consequences than the relatively trivial example I used. What are organizational undercurrents? There are many undercurrents but in the blog, I’ll deal in detail with five: Power is the currency and…

Moving Out of a Bad Job

Moving Out of a Bad Job In previous posts, I have been talking about challenging a bad job’s ability to sap your confidence by taking a look at the assumptions you’ve made about why you stay. In this post, I want to talk about how to start the  search for a better job. The job search tactics which usually apply, apply in this case also. Dawn Rosenberg Kay has an excellent article on how to look for a job while still employed. However, I think there are special factors in a bad situation you need to pay attention to. Job hunting when in a bad job I’m sure I won’t cover all of them, but here are some things you need to be particularly aware of when trying to leave a bad job. Lack of confidence. As I’ve mentioned, the worst thing a bad job does to you is attack your self-confidence. This may come out in various ways. You may undervalue what you can do and apply for jobs for which you are overqualified. Conversely, because you have lost a reliable way to assess your skills, you may overestimate your skills. What to do: Ask trusted friends or family…

Bad Jobs–Reasons for Staying 2

  Bad Jobs—Reasons for Staying? 2 In the first post of this series, Why Do People Stay in Bad Jobs?, I asked you to identify why you are staying in a bad job. In the last post, I explored some reasons often given to continue working where you are. This post will cover more. I’m already in the best company in the industry. This can happen. When Steve Jobs was alive, Apple was considered one of the best tech companies and so worth putting up with Jobs’ mercurial temper and insane demands. But why do you think you’re in the best company in your industry? Best paid? Most prestigious? Well-known brand? Whatever it is, give a hard look whether it’s worth the price you’re paying. You might feel any other company would be a move down. So what? First, your resume will always say that you worked at the best company. It might even help you move to a lesser known company with a better environment. Best should also include best for you. Back to original article I like my colleagues. Yes, that’s wonderful. But in a toxic work setting, great colleagues often mean people who have your back, or…

Bad Jobs—Reasons for Staying?

Bad Jobs—Reasons for Staying? In the previous post, I noted that a bad job can sap your confidence. You feel trapped without slowing down enough to consider whether you actually are. In this post, I want to discuss whether believing you don’t have the skills to change jobs, or a good salary, sticking with the devil you know or even a shaky economy are enough to stay in a bad job. I don’t have the work skills I need to change jobs You may think that no other company wants your skill set (another example of how a bad job saps your confidence). But look at this objectively. More than likely, the skills you use right now to do the job are adequate. Don’t let a bad work environment make you forget that. You might be able to make a lateral move to another company—same type of job, same level of pay, better environment. If you are aspiring to a more senior job when you move companies, that’s a different story. You may not have, or have not been able to demonstrate, the qualities which make you promotable. Identify these skills and either get training or practice them in a…